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French Ligue 1

Stade de la Mosson 8th December 2012 - Kick off 19:00 Ref: S Ennjimi

Montpellier Montpellier vs AC Ajaccio AC Ajaccio

Montpellier 3

J Utaka (28)
R Cabella (32)
Y Belhanda (67)

ft

Easy for Montpellier

Last Updated: 08/12/12 10:54pm

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Younes Belhanda celebrates his goal

Younes Belhanda celebrates his goal

Montpellier brushed aside meek Ajaccio to climb back toward mid-table safety in Ligue 1.

The champions are not the same side that won the title last season, but they had little problem seeing off relegation-threatened Ajaccio thanks to goals from John Utaka, Remy Cabella and Younes Belhanda.

The win lifted Rene Girard's side four points ahead of their fourth-from-bottom opponents, although they are only six points off fourth place in a tight division.

The hosts were on the front foot from the off and Utaka's header from a Belhanda free-kick was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The Nigerian came out on top in that duel in the 29th minute, though, receiving the ball in the area and beating first Carl Medjani then Johan Cavalli before firing in off a post.

It was 2-0 four minutes later, Medjani clearing Belhanda's cross only as far as Cabella, who controlled the ball and unleashed a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner.

The Ajaccio goal was under pressure again before the break with Samuel Bouhours blocking a Daniel Congre shot as the visitors survived a goalmouth scramble.

Romain Pitau volleyed powerfully over as the hosts started the second half on the attack again, but they got a let-off moments later when Dongre appeared to bring down Sigamary Diarra in the area only for the referee to wave play on.

Instead Belhanda put the game to bed in the 66th minute with a superb third.

The midfielder picked up the ball following an Ajaccio clearance, tricked Medjani with a feint to shoot and then dispatched a wonderful 25-yard effort beyond Ochoa.

The hosts should have had a fourth when Gaetan Charbonnier intercepted the beleaguered Medjani's pass only to miss the target, but the game had been long since sewn up.

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Matches

Table

French Ligue 1

French Ligue 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 33 79
2 Monaco 33 69
3 Lille 33 63
4 St Etienne 34 57
5 Lyon 33 54
6 Marseille 33 51
7 Bordeaux 33 45
8 Reims 33 45
9 Toulouse 33 44
10 Lorient 33 41
11 Bastia 33 41
12 Nantes 33 40
13 Rennes 34 39
14 Nice 33 39
15 Montpellier 33 38
16 Evian Thonon Gaillar 33 38
17 Guingamp 33 35
18 Sochaux 33 30
19 Valenciennes 33 29
20 AC Ajaccio 33 20