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French Ligue 1

Stade de la Mosson 1st March 2013 - Kick off 19:30 Ref: Benoit Millot

Montpellier Montpellier vs Rennes Rennes

Montpellier 2

Hilton (75)
S Camara (86)


Rennes 0

Montpellier push European claims

Last Updated: 01/03/13 10:11pm

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Souleymane Camara: On target for Montpellier

Souleymane Camara: On target for Montpellier

Montpellier moved to within two points of third place in the congested battle for Europe as they beat Rennes 2-0 to record their eighth consecutive home win in Ligue 1.

The in-form La Paillade moved level on points with St Etienne in fifth place thanks to two late second-half goals from Vitorino Hilton and Souleymane Camara.

With just one win in seven, defeat for Rennes meant they could find themselves as low as ninth in the Ligue 1 table come Sunday evening.

Despite an entertaining opening to the game neither side managed to create an opening until John Utaka went close on the half-hour mark.

Following a scramble in the area the ball fell at the feet of the Nigerian but his goalbound effort was turned away for a corner after a last-ditch Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik clearance.

At the other end, Mevlut Erding was picked out perfectly by Julien Feret from deep but the Turk's half-volley only found the side-netting of Geoffrey Jourdren's goal.

Erding went close for a second time with just a few minutes left of the half but his header from a Chris Mavinga cross was glanced just wide.

Montpellier went closest to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Daniel Congre picked out Anthony Mounier in the area but the former Nice striker's acrobatic effort shaved Benoit Costil's post.

In a similar fashion to the first half, the opening exchanges following the break involved very little goalmouth action before Feret went close on the hour mark - his spectacular 25-yard volley ended up just wide of the top left corner with Jourdren clearly beaten.

Utaka flashed wide of the goal minutes later after Emmanuel Herrera failed to get on the end of an Mounier cross but both sets of players were struggling to test Jourdren and Costil respectively.

The breakthrough finally came with 15 minutes left to play. Benoit Costil flapped at a Macro Estrada free-kick and the ball eventually fell at the feet of Hilton who opened the scoring, despite Rennes' protests for a foul on the goalkeeper.

The visitors failed to offer a response and Montpellier capitalised in the 86th minute when Camara doubled their lead in some fashion. Herrera picked out the Senegalese striker and he controlled before firing a superb effort beyond Costil from the edge of the box to seal the points.

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French Ligue 1

French Ligue 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 38 83
2 Lyon 38 75
3 Monaco 38 71
4 Marseille 38 69
5 St Etienne 38 69
6 Bordeaux 38 63
7 Montpellier 38 56
8 Lille 38 56
9 Rennes 38 50
10 Guingamp 38 49
11 Nice 38 48
12 Bastia 38 47
13 Caen 38 46
14 Nantes 38 45
15 Reims 38 44
16 Lorient 38 43
17 Toulouse 38 42
18 Evian Thonon Gaillar 38 37
19 Metz 38 30
20 RC Lens 38 29