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Lens beat nine-man Saint Etienne 2-0 to go second in Ligue 1

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PARIS (Reuters) - Lens secured a 2-0 win over nine-man Saint Etienne and moved up to second place in Ligue 1 thanks to goals from Gael Kakuta and Florian Sotoca after the visitors were hit with red cards for Timothee Kolodziejczak and Wahbi Khazri on Saturday.

Kolo was the first to be sent off after conceding an early penalty with a clumsy tackle that injured Ignatius Ganago. Referee Bastein Dechepy viewed a replay of the incident before brandishing the red card at the 29-year-old defender, with Kakuta firing Lens into the lead with the spot kick.

Saint Etienne sent Khazri on in the second-half but his first appearance of the season was a short-lived affair as he was dismissed in the 64th minute for a lunging tackle on Jonathan Gradit as the two raced for a long ball.

Sotoca settled the game with a towering header from a corner in the 81st to wrap up the victory that sent Lens up to second spot on 13 points behind leaders Stade Rennes, who have a game in hand, on goal difference. Saint Etienne are seventh on 10.

Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris