by SCOTT TAYLOR
Alassane Plea has been used as an understudy to Mario Balotelli for most of the season, but his first professional hat-trick saw Nice beat Metz 4-2 to stretch their unbeaten run to ten matches.
Monaco kept the pressure on the league leaders with a win against Montpellier, whilst Rudi Garcia’s first game in charge of Marseille ended in a 0-0 draw with Champions PSG in ‘Le Classique’.
Nantes lost their second consecutive Brittany derby, Lorient become the first team to sack their manager, and Lyon continued to fall down the table after defeat to Guingamp.
Plea’s hat-trick in the win took him to six goals in ten league games, one more than Balotelli which gives manager Lucien Favre a refreshing selection headache.
Wylan Cyprien netted Nice’s other goal as the league leaders are the only team not to have lost this season and are also the only team to have scored in every game this season.
Habib Diallo scored 21 seconds after coming on for Metz, which was the quickest goal by a substitute since the 2014/15 season.
Georges Mandjeck was also on target for the hosts, who have lost four of their last five games after losing only two of their previous 19 before the defeat.
Radamal Falcao scored on his return from injury as Monaco came from behind to thump Montpellier 6-2 at the Stade Louis II, scoring six goals in a game for the first time since May 2003.
Ryad Boudebouz scored twice for the visitors, but 17-year-old Kylian Mbappe continued his stunning form with a goal and an assist for Monaco, who scored their 29th goal in 10 games.
Jemerson, Valere Germain, Thomas Lemar and Adama Traore were on target for Leonardo Jardim’s men, who have now scored the most by any club at this stage of the season in the 21st century.
Alexandre Lacazette also scored his first goal since his return from injury, but Lyon threw away a lead to lose 3-1 at home to Guingamp to put more pressure on manager Bruce Genesio.
The goal extended his side’s scoring streak at Parc OL to 15 consecutive matches, but Marcus Coco’s first Ligue 1 brace gave Lyon their first defeat after leading at half-time in over 35 years.
Genesio now has the worst defeat percentage of any Lyon manager in their history, as the rumours continue to circulate about his future.
Sylvain Ripoll did in fact become the first manager to be sacked this season as bottom side Lorient lost 1-0 at Dijon, with Jordan Loties scoring a 92nd minute winner to lift his side up to 13th in Ligue 1.
Elsewhere, substitute Kamil Grosicki scored twice as Rennes came from behind to beat FC Nantes in the 75th Breton derby at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
Emiliano Sala gave Nantes the lead, but Grosicki, who scored six goals off the bench last season, netted twice to five Rennes their first away win of the season.
Eder scored the winner as Lille moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at home to Bastia on Saturday afternoon.
Sebastien Corchia curled in his first of the season from a 51st minute before Eder fired home Lille’s second six minutes later, before Sadio Diallo set up a nervous finish 19 minutes from time.
Saint-Etienne scored two second half goals as they secured their first away win of the season with victory over struggling Caen, with both goals coming from loanees from the Championship.
Newcastle loanee Henri Saviet opened the scoring before Aston Villa loanee Jordan Veretout won it nine minutes later, but Christophe Galtier’s side haven’t scored in the first half for 16 games now.
Angers kept just their second clean sheet of the season as they held high-flying Toulouse to a 0-0 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Toulouse returned to the scene where they completed the great escape in May, but could not repeat the same feeling as they had to rely on Albin Lafont to keep them in the game.
Finally, AS Nancy moved off the bottom of the Ligue 1 table after Anthony Koura scored to salvage a point at Bordeaux, a team they have failed to beat since April 2010.
Jeremy Menez 55th minute strike put the hosts ahead as Nancy went behind for the eighth time in ten games this season, but Koura equalised in the 74th minute.