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Openda nets hat-trick in just 5 minutes to lift Lens up to 3rd place


Lois Openda scored a five-minute first-half hat-trick as Lens ended their Ligue 1 winless run with a 4-0 victory at Clermont on Sunday.

Lens had drawn two and lost one of their last three games but climbed back into third, three points clear of Monaco, who host Reims later in the day.

Clermont remained 11th, 12 points clear of the relegation zone. 

Openda, who had not scored since Jan. 11, took advantage of the gifts from the home defense as he scored three left-footed goals.

He broke between two defenders before popping the ball between the legs of the goalkeeper Mory Diaw after 30 minutes.

Three minutes later, the Belgian striker pounced when Clermont's Maxime Gonalons gave the ball away on the edge of his penalty area.

Barely a minute after that, Openda benefited from another big mistake by central defender Mateusz Wieteska to add his third. 

"There have always been strikers who don't score for a while," said Lens coach Franck Haise. "Lois is a striker who knows how to score. He has it in him. It's good that it happened this afternoon."

"After a dozen games without scoring, I'm not going to quibble about his inconsistency."

In the second half, Seko Fofana hit the post for Lens before substitute Alexis Claude-Maurice made it 4-0 from an Openda cross after 76 minutes.

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