Thauvin trick helps take OM second
Florian Thauvin continued his excellent season by scoring a stunning hat-trick in Olympique de Marseille's 6-3 triumph over FC Metz on Friday to move OM into provisional second place.
Olympique de Marseille 6-3 FC Metz
With Olympique Lyonnais, who came into Week 24 in second place, facing AS Monaco on Sunday, OM had the ideal opportunity to steal a march on their rivals in the race for second place, and Rudi Garcia's men did not pass up the opportunity.
They were two ahead inside nine minutes. Thauvin had started the scoring in OM's 3-0 win at Metz just before Christmas, but he was beaten to the punch this time by Morgan Sanson, who exchanged passes with Valère Germain before firing home (6').
Sanson was involved too when Thauvin claimed his first of the night. The former SC Bastia and Newcastle United man started a counter-attack, found Sanson, and then surged onto the return pass to finish with an emphatic volley (9').
It took a smart Steve Mandanda save to keep out a Georges Mandjeck header (27'), but Thauvin's strike just before the break sucked the win from the sails of the visitors, who looked unlike a side that had won four of their last five matches.
Dimitri Payet's long ball turned the Metz back four, and Germain got to the ball before Eiji Kawashima. The ex-Monaco striker fired towards the empty net, and though Moussa Niakhaté kept the ball out, he could not prevent Thauvin sweeping home (45').
German, as hard-working as ever for the cause, got just desserts for his efforts when he finished smartly from Thauvin's cross to make it four shortly after the break (50') before Thauvin completed his hat-trick, side-footing home from Payet's perfect delivery (57').
Mandanda again intervened, this time pushing out a Florent Mollet effort (73') but was beaten just a minute later by the same player's vicious drive after he had seized onto a weak Rolando header (74').
In another 60 seconds, Kostas Mitroglou, who had replaced Sanson, restored the hosts' five-goal advantage (75') before Mollet (84') again and Fallou Diagné (90') gave Frédéric Hantz's side something to take back to Lorraine with them.
THE PLAYER: Florian Thauvin
The France international again showed he has the talent to carry his side, and the ability to score and make others score. With 13 league strikes this season, he is just two goals short of his 2016-17 tally - France boss Didier Deschamps will have taken note.
THE STAT: 8
Germain has been involved in eight goals in his last eight outings, scoring six of them.