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Fred strikes twice in Lyon debut

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Fred took only five minutes to score on his debut for Lyon

LYON, France -- Brazilian striker Fred scored twice on his debut for French champions Lyon, whose 2-1 defeat of Monaco kept them on top of the table with 13 points from five games.

Monaco, who failed to overcome Spanish side Real Betis for a place in the lucrative group stages of the Champions League, have only seven points from six games after a dismal start to the season.

Fred was on target after five minutes and headed a second in the 49th minute before Monaco had Olivier Kapo sent off 18 minutes later.

"It was very important for us to win and for me to score," said Fred. "I like the stadium and the pitch. The fans were fantastic. I feel ready for Ligue 1 and I'm looking forward to more nights like this."

Fred struck quickly, following a cross from the left by Jeremie Berthod which took a deflection off Lyon's France international striker Sidney Govou.

Monaco hardly worried the goal of Lyon keeper Gregory Coupet in the first half apart from a chance by David Gigliotti early on.

In a lively opening to the second half, Monaco keeper Guillaume Warmuz saved a free-kick from the left by Juninho Pernambucano but seconds later Lyon went further in front.

Hatem Ben Arfa crossed from the left and Fred, beating Sebastien Squillaci at the near post, headed home.

Kapo's sending-off for a second bookable offence made things harder for Monaco though Gigliotti pulled one back with 21 minutes to go from a free-kick which deflected off Tiago Mendes and wrongfooted Coupet.

Black note

There was one black note for Lyon - a knee injury suffered by Brazilian defender Cris, who will miss the Champions League game against Real next week.

"It's a bruised ligament," said coach Gerard Houllier. "It doesn't look too serious but he can't play on Tuesday."

Lyon, chasing an unprecedented fifth successive title, stay three points clear of second-placed Paris St Germain, who beat Racing Strasbourg 1-0 with a first-half goal by Ivory Coast midfielder Bonaventure Kalou.

Strasbourg had Egypt midfielder Hosni Rabou sent off for a second bookable offence in the 65th minute.

Promoted Le Mans moved up to a surprise third place with a 2-0 win at Toulouse.

The visitors moved in front with an early goal from Congolese striker Chiguy Lucau and stayed on top despite having defender Marko Basa sent off for grabbing the arm of Toulouse striker Daniel Moreira in the 50th minute.

Midfielder Yohan Hautcoeur completed the victory with five minutes remaining.

Last season's runners-up Lille recovered from a frustrating start to the season when two goals from Nigerian striker Peter Odemwegie gave them a 2-0 win at Metz, who played the last 20 minutes with 10 men after having midfielder Ludovic Obraniak sent off for a dangerous tackle.

Northerners Lille, who start their Champions League campaign away to Benfica on Wednesday, climb four spots to eighth.

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