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October 26, 2014

PARIS (AP) — Winger Max-Alain Gradel scored late in the second half as Saint-Etienne beat resilient Metz 1-0 on Sunday to provisionally move into third place in the French league, while Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo scored five goals in an astonishing individual performance as Nice won 7-2 away to Guingamp.

Lyon needs to beat Marseille at home later Sunday to reclaim third place on goal difference.

Gradel pounced in the 74th minute with an acrobatic finish after Ricky Van Wolfswinkel headed the ball into his path.

Earlier, striker Habib Habibou and midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure scored second-half goals as Rennes beat Lille 2-0 to move into ninth place.

Winger Paul-Georges Ntep was the star of the match, setting up both goals after making fine runs down each flank.

But that was little in comparison to Eduardo, who tormented Guingamp all afternoon.

"It was a great game for the fans and also in terms of our goal difference. Of course I'm going to congratulate Carlos, who took his chances well," Nice coach Claude Puel said. "He's got the physique and the technique to go to do great things. He's 25 years old and he's still young, so he still has a lot of room for improvement."

Last-place Guingamp took the lead against seventh-place Nice through midfielder Claudio Beauvue's diving header in the eighth minute.

Eduardo replied four minute later with a powerful free kick into the top left corner, and side-footed home from midfielder Didier Digard's pass to make it 2-1 in the 26th.

"We're not used to such scores. That's for sure," Puel said. "Things went well for us, and thanks to Carlos we got back in the game quickly."

After Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl made a superb save to deny him, Eduardo completed his hat trick in the 43rd with a fine run to the back post to turn in midfielder Eric Bautheac's cross.

Forward Alassane Plea, who also had an outstanding game, made it 4-1 in first-half injury time after Lossl botched a clearance.

Guingamp's rattled defense quickly fell apart in the second half, as Plea set up Eduardo for his fourth in the 51st. He got his fifth of a memorable match in the 65th when he fired emphatically past Lossl from just inside the penalty area, after being set up by Belgian midfielder Julien Vercauteren.

Eduardo, who is on loan from Portuguese side Porto, almost completed a double hat trick with a late header that went just wide.

Earlier, Ntep had also distinguished himself for Rennes.

First, he received the ball behind the halfway line on the right and burst past the Rennes defense before delivering a perfect cross for Habibou to head home in the 47th minute.

Six minutes later, he collected the ball about 60 meters out on the left, dribbled past Danish defender Simon Kjaer and crossed the ball for Doucoure to pounce.

Nice has 17 points, while Rennes has 15 points and leads Metz and Lille on goal difference.

PSG is in second place after beating Bordeaux 3-0 on Saturday, thanks to two penalties from Brazilian winger Lucas Moura and a late goal from Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi.

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