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Marseille slips to 1st defeat; forwards shine for Monaco

PARIS (AP) — Marseille lost for the first time in the French league this season when it was beaten 3-2 by Lens in a thrilling match on Sunday. Dimitri Payet's two goals drew Marseille level at 2-2 at the break, but substitute Wesley Said's header proved enough to give Lens victory and move it above Marseille into second spot.

Marseille could have gone clear in second place with a home win. But with less than 30 minutes played it was losing 2-0 to the visitors at a stunned Stade Velodrome. Striker Florian Sotoca beat goalkeeper Pau Lopez from the penalty spot in the ninth minute — ending Lopez's run of three straight clean sheets.

Lopez conceded again in the 27th when Poland winger Przemyslaw Frankowski netted with a superb strike, cutting in from the right flank and curling the ball into the top left corner. Payet got one back six minutes later with a curler of his own before Lens goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca made an outstanding close-range save from Brazilian midfielder Gerson.

But Payet sent Leca the wrong way from the spot in first-half injury time after striker Bamba Dieng was fouled. Marseille dominated after the break with Turkey winger Cengiz Under hitting the crossbar with a fine strike, and Dieng drawing another great save from Leca from a firm downward header.

Against the run of play, Said met a front-post cross from Sotoca and headed past Lopez in the 71st. Lens is nine points behind runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain and one point ahead of third-place Marseille, which has played one game less.

Meanwhile, Monaco's improving form continued as coach Niko Kovac's side won 3-1 at Clermont to move up to eighth place. Strikers Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland grabbed a goal each. Substitute Sofiane Diop added an injury-time third when he started and finished a move with a neat backheel flick.

Monaco’s third win in eight games moved it one place above defending champion Lille. Promoted Clermont conceded six goals in a midweek defeat at Rennes but responded by scoring in the seventh minute through striker Mohamed Bayo, the second-tier’s top scorer with Clermont last season.

Ben Yedder was Monaco’s top scorer last season with 20 league goals. He equalized midway through the first half. Central midfielder Youssouf Fofana looked angry after being replaced after 37 minutes, removing his shirt and walking down the tunnel without looking at Kovac.

Bayo went close with a shot just over moments before the break. Monaco struck just after through the German striker Volland, who has two league goals after netting 17 last term. Brazilian left back Caio Henrique set up both Monaco's goals.

OTHER MATCHES After a narrow injury-time defeat to Paris Saint-Germain midweek, Metz won its first game of the season with a 2-1 victory at Brest. Substitute Hugo Ekitike made it three goals in three games for midtable Reims. The 19-year-old winger came off the bench in the second half to net twice in a 3-1 home win against Nantes.

Promoted Troyes drew 1-1 at home to fifth-placed Angers, which needed another penalty from veteran midfielder Thomas Mangani to earn a point. Striker Gaetan Laborde scored his second goal in as many games as Rennes drew 1-1 at lowly Bordeaux.

On Saturday, PSG made it eight straight wins by beating Montpellier 2-0 at home.

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