Golovin hat-trick powers Monaco to seventh consecutive win

Aleksandr Golovin struck a hat-trick to keep Monaco on the heels of the top three in France
Aleksandr Golovin struck a hat-trick to keep Monaco on the heels of the top three in France NICOLAS TUCAT AFP
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Paris (AFP)

Aleksandr Golovin scored a hat-trick on his first start since August as Monaco defeated bottom club Nimes 4-3 on Sunday to extend their winning run in Ligue 1 to seven matches.

The Russia midfielder, who missed four months of the season with a thigh injury, volleyed Monaco in front inside three minutes, sliding to guide in Fode Ballo-Toure's flighted cross.

Golovin produced an even better finish to double Monaco's lead on 12 minutes, powering into the roof of the net from a tight angle after another Ballo-Toure assist.

Wissam Ben Yedder had the ball in the net again not long after, but the Monaco captain's effort was rightly ruled out for a marginal offside decision.

Lucas Deaux pulled a goal back for Nimes after fine work along the byline from Zinedine Ferhat, who then drew the home side level after Renaud Ripart's low shot rebounded to the Algerian off the post.

Golovin put Monaco back ahead on the hour, his curving free-kick nestling in the far corner. He then released Kevin Volland to notch a fourth goal with a tidy dink over the advancing Baptiste Reynet.

Niclas Eliasson's superb free-kick came in vain for a Nimes side that lies seven points from guaranteed safety at the foot of the table. Monaco are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain and just four behind leaders Lyon.

Lille are chasing a sixth straight win as they try to reclaim top spot when they go to Nantes later on Sunday, while bitter rivals Marseille and PSG meet for the 100th time in all competitions.

Marseille's 67,000-capacity Velodrome will be empty for the game due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the Mediterranean city is still on edge after several hundred supporters attacked the club's training ground last weekend.

Their game against Rennes last Saturday was postponed, and three days later coach Andre Villas-Boas was suspended by the club -- the first step in the legal process of sacking the Portuguese -- after he declared at a press conference he wanted to resign.