Tue, Oct 18, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Gameiro’s hat-trick keeps PSG in pole

AP, PARIS

Jonathan Pitroipa of Stade Rennais tries to go round Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard in their Ligue 1 match at the Route de Lorient in Rennes, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Kevin Gameiro’s hat-trick guided Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 victory over AC Ajaccio on Sunday to maintain their three-point lead atop Ligue 1.

The France international opened the scoring in the second minute by flicking home Nene’s corner after it was redirected to him at the far post by Sylvain Armand.

Carl Medjani equalized from Arnaud Maire’s cross in the 24th minute, before PSG went ahead for good in the 50th minute when midfielder Mohamed Sissoko set up Gameiro to score his second.

Three minutes later, Gameiro tapped in a cutback from Clement Chantome to complete his impressive day and become the top scorer in the league with eight goals.

“Ajaccio troubled us in the first half, but the most important thing is the victory,” Gameiro said.

“We consolidated first place. We must keep going to stay in the lead as long as possible,” he said.

PSG lead Olympique Lyonnais and Montpellier Herault as they chase their first league title since 1994. They have quickly gelled as a team following an investment of 85 million euros (US$117 million) made this summer to sign nine players.

“We went back to the dressing room with the score tied and I didn’t like it,” PSG coach Antoine Kombouare said. “The most important thing is that we showed a different face after the break. We played with our qualities and made the difference with our game.”

Also on Sunday, Stade Rennais defeated Lorient 2-0 to climb to fifth place, while Valenciennes routed mid-table Sochaux-Montbeliard 3-0 to move out of the relegation zone.

In Rennes, Jires Kembo-Ekoko curled a free-kick from 25m into the top corner in the 10th minute.

The Rennes striker nearly doubled the lead on another set piece in the 18th minute, but Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard jumped to make the save. Instead, Burkina Faso forward Jonathan Pitroipa made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute by converting a penalty after Lorient fullback Arnaud Le Lan had tripped Kembo-Ekoko.

“We stifled Lorient,” Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti said. “We prevented them from playing. The players pressed high up the pitch relentlessly.”

Meanwhile in Valenciennes, Vincent Aboubakar controlled a throw-in from Gaetan Bong, spun and fired home in the 43rd minute.

Algeria midfielder Foued Kadir added a second goal on a counterattack in the 71st minute, before Aboubakar sealed the win with a close-range effort four minutes later.

“We’re happy and relieved tonight,” Valenciennes coach Daniel Sanchez said. “Our first half was average, but that goal just before halftime did us a lot of good. We were more ambitious and relaxed in the second half.”

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