Thauvin nets hat trick as Marseille beats Metz 6-3 to go 2nd

Marseille's Florian Thauvin reacts after scoring his second goal, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's Valere Germain, right, scores despite Metz's goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, , during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's Florian Thauvin celebrates after scoring, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Metz's Emmanuel Riviere, left, challenges for the ball with Marseille's Hiroki Sakai, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's Morgan Sanson, center, scores despite Metz's goalkepper Eiji Kawashima, right, and Metz's Julian Palmieri, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's defenders Adil rami, left, Jorge Pires da Fonseca Rolando, second left, Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa, center, Marseille's Luiz Gustavo Dias, right, challenge for the ball with Metz's Nolan Roux, second right, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's Morgan Sanson, right, celebrates with teammate Valere Germain, left, after scoring, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Marseille's Valere Germain, left, celebrates with Florian Thauvin, after scoring his second goal, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Metz, at the Velodrome Stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

PARIS — Florian Thauvin scored a hat trick to help Marseille go second in the French league with a 6-3 win over bottom club Metz on Friday.

Morgan Sanson took advantage of some soft defending to give the home side a sixth-minute lead, and Thauvin scored his first goal with a volley on a counterattack just three minutes later.

Metz pushed back, but Thauvin grabbed his second right before halftime despite Moussa Niakhate's desperate attempt to clear.

Valere Germain made it 4-0 five minutes after the break with a delicate finish off the far post, and Thauvin completed his hat trick minutes later thanks to a fine cross from Dimitri Payet.

Florent Mollet pulled one back for Metz, but Kostas Mitroglou made it 6-1 almost straight away.

Late goals from Mollet and Ibrahima Niane salvaged some pride for the visitors, who remain seven points from safety.

Marseille moved three points ahead of Lyon after its fifth win in six games without a loss. Marseille is eight points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG visits Lille on Saturday, while Lyon plays in Monaco on Sunday.

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