Lyon beat Sochaux 4-0 on Sunday, moving up to five points behind leading team and title holder Bordeaux. Meanwhile, Marseille's defeat of Nancy 3-1 leaves the southerners trailing Lyon by just one point.
REUTERS - Seasoned Senegalese international striker Mamadou Niang and Brazilian Michel Bastos both scored hat-tricks on Sunday for Marseille and Lyon respectively to maintain some pressure on French champions Bordeaux.
Niang's hat-trick in a 3-1 victory over Nancy took him to the top of the goalscoring charts as he racked up 14 for the season six of which have come in February alone as Marseille moved to within six points of Bordeaux.
Bastos scored all his goals in the first-half as seven-time champions Lyon stormed to a 4-0 victory away at Sochaux - their record signing Argentinian international striker Lisandro Lopez rounding off the scoring 12 minutes from time.
Lyon moved to within five points of Bordeaux - who were given special dispensation not to play this weekend ahead of their Champions League match with Olympiakos on Tuesday - but have played a game more than both the leaders and Marseille.
Niang could have had a hat-trick in the first-half as the bustling 30-year-old forward created endless problems for the Nancy defence especially Andre Luiz.
The Senegalese marksman struck first in the ninth minute as he rose majestically to meet a cross from Burkina Faso's Charles Kabore and head home in what was Marseille's first real attack of note.
Andre Luiz got a measure of revenge when he levelled for Nancy - whose attack had been blunted by the late injury of Moroccan veteran Youssouf Hadji - three minutes later as the Marseille defence went walkabout and unmarked he tapped home.
Niang, though, went desperately close to restoring their advantage in the 19th minute as again he rose above the defence to meet Mathieu Valbuena's corner but this time his header crashed against the crossbar.
However, the irrepressible Niang was not to be denied his second as despite being manhandled by a Nancy defender he was able to swivel and volley home Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo's cross to give the hosts the lead 12 minutes before the break.
Niang did give the supporters and the coaching staff a scare close to the half-time whistle when he went down clutching an ankle and had to receive treatment on the touchline but he hobbled back on to see out the half.
Didier Deschamps made Baby Kone go through a prolonged warm-up during the break just in case Niang was unable to continue but he was to dispel all fears of that when he completed his hat-trick in the 66th minute.
His strike partner Lucho Gonzalez was the provider as he released Niang with a perfectly sleighted ball that Niang pounced on and it was no contest with a one on one with the Nancy 'keeper and slotted it home.
Date created : 2010-02-21