- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

PARIS (AP) - Fresh from his maiden cap with France, Thomas Lemar helped Monaco to a 3-0 win at Lorient with a superb free kick as the Principality side moved top of the French league standings on Friday.

Monaco moved level on points with Nice but has a better goal difference than its Mediterranean neighbor. Nice travels to Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Also, Lyon prepared for its Champions League trip to Dinamo Zagreb with a third consecutive win, a 1-0 defeat of Lille that lifted the seven-time champions to fourth overall, seven points off Monaco’s pace.

Lemar, the highly-praised attacking midfielder, came in as a substitute for France earlier this week in a goalless draw with Ivory Coast as a reward for his solid start to the season.

Renowned for his dazzling dribbles, excellent first touch and passing skills, the 21-year-old from the island of Guadeloupe has already equaled his best tally for a season with five goals in 12 matches.

Under new coach Bernard Casoni, Lorient dominated in the first half but conceded two goals in the space of three minutes after the interval.

Forward Radamel Falcao, who played with Colombia midweek, started on the bench but proved decisive just a few seconds after he came in, scoring his fifth league goal this season in the 64th at the conclusion of a quick counterattack.

Lemar then curled a stunning 25-meter free kick into the top right corner and Gabriel Boschilia added more luster to the win in added time. The Brazilian midfielder’s goal came from another set-piece after his shot took a deflection off the wall.

Currently the team with the best attacking record in Europe’s top five leagues, Monaco has scored 26 goals in its past seven matches, averaging 3.7 goals per game. Leonardo Jardim’s side will try to seal its progress to the knockout phase of the Champions League next week when it hosts Tottenham.

Lorient remained at the bottom of the standings, 22 points behind Monaco.

In Lille, Maxwel Cornet scored the winner for Lyon three minutes in with a clean finish after being left unmarked inside the area. Lille was reduced to 10 men following Younousse Sankhare’s red card in the 56th for a foul on Maxime Gonalons.

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