Football: Riviere hat-trick powers Monaco past Montpellier

Frenchman Emmanuel Riviere stole his Colombian teammate Radamel Falcao's thunder on Sunday as his hat-trick carried Monaco into joint top spot in Ligue 1 with a 4-1 thrashing over Montpellier.

Claudio Ranieri's expensively assembled side followed up their opening day's 2-0 victory over Bordeaux to move up to six points alongside Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Marseille and second on goal difference..

Nantes will join them later Sunday if they can overcome Brittany neighbours Lorient.

Champions Paris Saint-Germain are also in action with their home curtain raiser against Fabrizio Ravanelli's Ajaccio side at the Parc des Princes.

On a glorious afternoon on the Cote d'Azur, the home side took the lead on 18 minutes when Argentine Lucas Ocampos took off on a weaving run before being hacked down in the box by Siaka Tiene, leaving the referee little option but to point to the spot.

Falcao stepped up and sent Montpellier 'keeper Laurent Pionnier the wrong as he made it two goals from two matches since his reported 60 million euro transfer from Atletico Madrid.

The lead lasted just six minutes when a second Colombian, this time Victor Hugo Montano, got the better of defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal before powering home a header from a fine cross from Benjamin Stambouli on the right wing.

The 2004 Champions League finalists then went back in front in controversial fashion on the stroke of half-time when Riviere clearly tugged Montpellier defender Daniel Congre on his way into the box before chipping the ball over the on rushing Pionnier and into the empty cage.

Riviere then gave Ranieri's men a cushion 12 minutes after the break when he kneed the ball home following a corner from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.

The 2012 champions were always facing a long afternoon as Congre lost his cool on 63 minutes and was shown a straight red card for hauling down Ferreira-Carrasco just outside the box before Riviere completed his hat-trick with nine minutes left.

It was the Frenchman's fourth goal of the young campaign and put him top of the goal scoring stakes, one ahead of Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and Marseille's Dmitri Payet

It was also the seventh goal in seven matches for the 23-year-old when playing against Montpellier in Ligue 1.