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Ligue 1: Mbappe scores hat trick as Monaco thumps Metz

Teen forward Kylian Mbappe scored a superb hat trick as Monaco thumped Metz 5-0 to restore its three-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the French league on Saturday.

PARIS (AP) — Teen forward Kylian Mbappe scored a superb hat trick as Monaco thumped Metz 5-0 to restore its three-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the French league on Saturday.

The lead is effectively four points given Monaco's whopping goal difference of plus-52. Coach Leonardo Jardim's side has scored 107 in all competitions. Monaco's goal difference is also more goals than defending champion PSG has in the league so far.

Monaco has netted 75 league goals and, with 13 games remaining, is on track to surpass PSG's tally of 102 from last season.

Overall, Monaco has managed at least four goals on 12 occasions, and the numbers keep piling up for a side brimming with young talent and with no star name aside from striker Radamel Falcao.

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There are plenty of stars for the future, however, notably Mbappe.

The 18-year-old forward has two hat tricks this season — the other was in the League Cup — and took his season tally to 11. He also stole the spotlight from Falcao, who scored twice to reach 22 goals in a resurgent season following two miserable years in the English Premier League clawing his way back from a serious knee injury.

Falcao's headed pass set up Mbappe's first in the eighth minute and three minutes later Falcao made a surging run to the front post to turn in defender Almany Toure's cross. With barely 20 minutes played, it was 3-0 as Mbappe cut in from the left and drilled home a shot.

It needed a fine save from goalkeeper Thomas Didillon to prevent a first-half hat trick for Mbappe, who completed it five minutes after the break.

Falcao added another soon after, and that Metz did not concede more was thanks to Didillon, who kept out several shots — including an injury-time effort from Mbappe.

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Striker Alexandre Lacazette's 20th league goal was not enough for a Lyon side once again let down by poor defending.

Lacazette finished off a neat team move in the first half, curling the ball in after fellow forward Nabil Fekir cleverly let Jeremy Morel's cross run through his legs.

Lacazette reached the 20-goal mark for the third straight season.

Lyon's much-vaunted attack is performing well this season, but the defense is not.

Midfielder Moustapha Diallo equalized for the home side in the 31st as Lyon failed to deal with a cross into the penalty area, and three minutes later the visitors were trailing as midfielder Nicolas Benezet headed in Yannis Salibur's cross from the left.

Lyon midfielder Rachid Ghezzal pointed the finger at his teammates for conceding sloppy goals.

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"On their second goal they were two against four or five (of us) and they still managed to find each other," Ghezzal said. "That's not normal. We have to be far more demanding of ourselves in defense."

Lyon's fifth defeat in the last seven games left it well adrift of a Champions League place, and keeping its fourth place could prove hard with Saint-Etienne and Marseille pressing strongly. They are four points behind Lyon and play on Sunday, with Saint-Etienne at home to last-placed Lorient and Marseille away to Nantes.

In Sunday's other game, third-placed Nice travels to Rennes without Mario Balotelli, who has a fever.


January signing Andy Delort made it three goals in three games and strike partner Martin Braithwaite netted twice as ninth-place Toulouse beat Bastia 4-1. Two of the visitors were sent off in the second half.

Mid-table Montpellier won at Nancy 3-0, and Angers moved away from the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Lille. Dijon also improved its chances of staying up with a 2-0 home win against Caen.