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Maiga hat-trick gives Metz hope

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Metz gave themselves at least some hope of staying in Ligue 1 as Modibo Maiga's hat-trick earned them victory over relegation rivals Toulouse.

Wissam Ben Yedder gave Toulouse a 21st-minute lead but Maiga - on loan from West Ham - quickly equalised, put Metz ahead before half-time and completed his treble early in the second period.

Toulouse then had Marcel Tisserand sent off and could only manage a late consolation from Tongo Doumbia.

Ahmed Kashi shot wide for Metz before Ben Yedder opened the scoring at the other end.

Doumbia dispossessed defender Gaetan Bussmann and found Alexander Pesic, who set up Ben Yedder to finish from close range.

But the lead lasted only three minutes before Toulouse twice failed to clear a corner and the ball eventually fell to Maiga, who scored with a low drive from near the penalty spot.

Ali Ahamada made a good save from Ferjani Sassi but the second goal came three minutes before half-time when Bussmann sent the ball in from the left and Maiga, on the corner of the penalty area, produced a good angled finish.

And just nine minutes into the second period, it was 3-1 as Maiga completed his hat-trick. Bussmann was again the provider as the striker controlled his pass well and slotted the ball through Ahamada's legs.

Toulouse's task quickly got even tougher as Tisserand fouled Sassi to collect a second yellow card, and they did not threaten a response until the closing stages.

Metz could have put the game out of sight by then had Sarr managed to beat Ahamada after being set up by Florent Malouda.

Martin Braithwaite was denied well by Metz keeper Anthony Mfa Mezui but with a minute remaining, Doumbia gave Toulouse a lifeline when he headed in Adrien Regattin's free-kick.

Metz would have been nervous going into injury time with only a single-goal lead, but they held out for a vital win.

Albert Cartier's side remain eight points adrift of safety and six behind their opponents, but defeat would have surely ended their hopes altogether.

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