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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 34 82
2 Monaco 34 72
3 Lille 34 64
4 St Etienne 34 57
5 Lyon 34 55
6 Marseille 34 52
7 Bordeaux 34 48
8 Toulouse 34 45
9 Reims 34 45
10 Bastia 34 44
11 Nantes 34 43
12 Lorient 34 42
13 Rennes 34 39
14 Montpellier 34 39
15 Nice 34 39
16 Evian Thonon Gaillar 34 38
17 Guingamp 34 35
18 Sochaux 34 33
19 Valenciennes 34 29
20 AC Ajaccio 34 20