Montpellier click into gear
Champions Montpellier moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season after tyhrashing Bastia 4-0.
Last Updated: 15/12/12 9:36pm
Champions Montpellier moved into the top half of the Ligue 1 table for the first time this season as they secured a third consecutive win at home to Bastia.
After Marco Estrada's sensational 14th-minute opener, second-half goals from Emanuel Herrera, Younes Belhanda and Anthony Mounier ensured the recent resurgence of Rene Girard's side has now started to gather real momentum.
The 4-0 scoreline was Montpellier's biggest win of the season - beating the 3-0 success over Ajaccio only last weekend - as their disastrous start has started to fade from memory.
Montpellier have now lost just once in eight league games - 1-0 away to leaders Lyon - and can attack the second half of the campaign without the distraction of European football following their Champions League group stage exit.
They were completely dominant and Estrada had fired a long-range shot narrowly over before opening the scoring in spectacular style.
John Utaka lost the ball after clever work from Bryan Dabo but a hasty clearance fell only as far as Estrada, who launched a fiercely-struck volley from 30 yards into the top corner.
Bastia goalkeeper Landry Bonnefoi prevented any further damage before half-time with superb saves to deny Herrera and Utaka, but the floodgates opened upon the resumption.
Herrera was left with the simplest of tasks of scoring on 47 minutes when Utaka skinned Gael Angoula down the left and sent in a pin-point cross.
Belhanda grabbed his second goal in three games on the hour when he raced onto Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa's though-ball and powerfully picked his spot.
Bonnefoi deflected over another well-hit Herrera drive but Montpellier had another goal in them and substitute Mounier delivered it 15 minutes from the end.
Again it was a memorable strike as Belhanda's free-kick fell to Mounier, who athletically smacked a volley past Bonnefoi at his near post.