Lille edges Ajaccio 3-2 to stay 3rd in France
PARIS (AP) — Salomon Kalou scored a hat trick Sunday to help Lille stay third in the French league with a 3-2 win at last-place Ajaccio.
Kalou scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 74th minute after Ajaccio defender Grenddy Perozo fouled Lille forward Nolan Roux.
“We lacked technical accuracy and we were shaky defensively,” Lille coach Rene Girard told BeIn Sport television. “We took three points today, but that’s really it.”
Ajaccio striker Gadji Tallo put the hosts ahead in the opening minute by converting a cross from Sigamary Diarra.
Kalou leveled with a penalty in the 26th after Ajaccio midfielder Johan Cavalli handled the ball inside the area. The Ivory Coast forward then volleyed home a cross from Jonathan Delaplace to give Lille the lead in the 38th.
But Tallo equalized three minutes before halftime by chipping goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
“I think Lille played with 12 men,” said Ajaccio coach Christian Bracconi, who was sent off in the 77th for dissent. “I believe we deserved a draw. It’s a feeling of injustice.”
Lille was down to 10 men in the 80th when defender Adama Soumaoro was red-carded for a two-footed lunge on Dennis Oliech.
At Stade Gerland, Lyon lost ground in the race for a European spot by splitting the points with mid-table Montpellier in a goalless draw.
Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren parried swerving free kicks from Clement Grenier in the 30th and 60th and saved volleys from Alexandre Lacazette in the 41st and Bafetimbi Gomis in the 69th. Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli cleared a header from Bakary Kone off the line in the 87th.
“We’re disappointed by the result and I feel sorry for my players because they showed a lot of good will,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said.
Lyon trails fourth-place Saint-Etienne by six points.
League leader Paris Saint-Germain hosts Marseille later on Sunday.
On Saturday, it was: Saint-Etienne 2, Monaco 0; Lorient 1, Bastia 1; Nice 0, Toulouse 2; Reims 3, Valenciennes 1; Rennes 0, Guingamp 2; and Sochaux 2, Bordeaux 0.
On Friday, Evian beat Nantes 2-0 to move five points clear of the relegation zone.