Ten-man Montpellier convince at Caen
Montpellier claimed a convincing 3-1 victory over hosts Caen to go level on points with leaders Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and John Utaka scored within five minutes of each other to put the visitors into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes. Joris Marveaux was dismissed after 64 minutes to give Caen hope, but instead they fell further behind when Younes Belhanda struck.
Benjamin Nivet scored a consolation penalty before the game's second red card was shown to Pierre-Alain Frau to even up the numbers.
Caen started the match brightly, Frau heading wide from a decent position and then clattering the woodwork with a superb volley in the fourth minute.
Montpellier soon found their feet, though, and took the lead ten minutes later. Belhanda claimed the assist with a well-directed free-kick, with Yanga-Mbiwa on hand to nod home.
Five minutes later came the second, Utaka making a storming counter-attack having being freed by Belhanda before rifling his shot past Alexis Thebaux.
Caen did not muster another effort until the 50th minute, though M'Baye Niang's header lacked power. Marveaux's sending-off for a second bookable offence threatened to open up the game, but Montpellier successfully stifled their opponents' attacking ambitions.
Romain Pitau went close for the visitors before the impressive Belhanda converted his side's third goal from a Garry Bocali cross.
Caen's 82nd-minute consolation came when Geoffrey Jourdren conceded a penalty and failed to stop Nivet's spot-kick. There was time for Frau to pick up a red card before the final whistle, but there were no more attempts on goal.