MARSEILLE: Florian Thauvin took his season’s league goal tally to 13 with a hat-trick as Marseille enjoyed a 6-3 rout of rock-bottom Metz in French Ligue 1 on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
The win moved Marseille into second place in the table, eight points behind bitter rivals Paris Saint-Germain who have a game in hand and face struggling Lille on Saturday.
Marseille were 5-0 up before Metz got on the scoresheet, such was the dominance of Rudi Garcia’s men.
Morgan Sanson fired them in front after just six minutes before former Newcastle striker Thauvin hit the first of his three with a volley two minutes later.
He got the better of Metz’s Senegalese defender Fallou Diagne to score his second just before the interval and completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute after being set-up by Dimitri Payet.
Valere Germain, on the stroke of half-time, and Kostas Mitroglou added the sixth on 75 minutes, again with Payet delivering the key ground work.
Metz scored their goals in the last quarter of an hour with a Florent Mollet double and last-gasp header from Ibrahima Niane.
Garcia was full of praise for Thauvin.
“’Flo’ continues to be a decisive player, you don’t need me to tell you,” said the coach.
“I want him to continue to work, to have an important contribution. He is a humble man. Praise can weaken men and I do not want him to be weaker!”
On the game, Garcia added: “When we score six goals in a home game, we can only be satisfied. We relaxed a bit at the end, but it was a great show.”
Even Frederic Hantz, the Metz coach, admired Thauvin’s performance.
“I am a fan of Florian Thauvin. I worked with him for two years, he is a great talent, a very endearing player.”