Lens Earn 3-0 Win Over Monaco to go Second in French League

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Lens beat Monaco 3-0 (Twitter)

Lens beat Monaco 3-0 (Twitter)

Lois Openda’s double and a strike from Adrien Thomasson aided Lens to a resounding 3-0 win over the team from the principality, and helped the Northern France side go second in the domestic league, six points behind leaders PSG

Belgian international Lois Openda scored twice on Saturday as Lens romped to a 3-0 win over Monaco in Ligue 1 to close in on Champions League qualification and seriously damage the top-three hopes of their opponents.

Lens began the day in third place, two points above Monaco in fourth, and they never looked back after Openda opened the scoring in the ninth minute at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

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Openda netted again in the 16th minute before setting up Adrien Thomasson to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.

It was the perfect way for Lens to bounce back after a 3-1 defeat away to leaders Paris Saint-Germain last weekend effectively ended their chances of winning the title.

Lens, who last appeared in the Champions League in the 2002/03 season, move back up into second place and will stay there unless Marseille win at Lyon on Sunday.

Franck Haise’s team are also now five points better off than Monaco, who have finished third in each of the last two campaigns only to then go out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

Only the top two in Ligue 1 qualify automatically for the Champions League, with the team finishing third entering in the third qualifying round and fourth place going into the Europa League.

However, third place will gain direct entry to the group stage if the winner of this season’s Europa League also qualifies for the continent’s elite club competition via their domestic championship.

“I think this was our best game this season,” said Haise.

On fireworks being set off in the stands, Haise added: “There’s only one place for fireworks and that’s on the pitch. It’s up to the players to do that. The fans are there to support, not to light fireworks in the stadium.”

Lens had won all but two home league games this season and were surprisingly comfortable against their visitors from the principality.

The opening goal came after Deiver Machado had closed down a Vanderson clearance and the ball ricocheted off him into the path of Openda.

His initial effort was cleared off the line by Guillermo Maripan before he tucked in the rebound.

Machado then set up the second goal with a superb run down the left flank and a perfect cross for Openda to convert his 17th of the campaign.

Thomasson had a goal disallowed for offside at the start of the second half before completing the victory.

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PSG are nine points clear of Lens at the top with six games left after Kylian Mbappe scored twice in their 2-1 success at bottom side Angers on Friday.

Mbappe is Ligue 1’s top scorer with 22 goals, one ahead of Jonathan David after the Canadian netted a penalty in Lille’s 1-1 draw at Auxerre.

Lille remain in fifth, the final European qualifying spot, but Rennes will go above them with a win on Sunday.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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