REFILE-Soccer-Benedetto on fire as Marseille consolidate second place

(adds dropped word 'team', fixes typo in second para)

PARIS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Olympique de Marseille's Dario Benedetto scored a hat-trick as they claimed a 3-2 win at Nimes to cement second place in Ligue 1 on Friday.

The home team opened the scoring through Zinedine Ferhat after five minutes before Benedetto struck twice before the interval and once after the break to put OM on 55 points from 27 games with Lucas Deaux reducing the arrears in stoppage time.

They trail leaders Paris St Germain by 10 points but lead third-placed Rennes, who travel to bottom side Toulouse on Saturday, by 11.

Nimes, who had won four of their five previous games in Ligue 1, are 18th on 27 points.

Following OM's first defeat in 2020 against Nantes last weekend, Andre Villas-Boas's side were at their clinical best after a sluggish start.

Ferhat put the hosts ahead by poking the ball home after Steve Mandanda had parried Nolan Roux's attempt into his path.

But Marseille quickly levelled as Benedetto tapped home from Bouna Sarr's cross in the 10th minute for his second goal in three league games after eight matches without scoring.

The Argentine was at it again nine minutes before the break, flicking the ball past goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni after collecting a through ball from Dimitri Payet.

He effectively wrapped up the win in the 69th with a half-volley from point-blank range - his 11th goal of the season.

Deaux pulled one back with a header two minutes into added time but it was too little, too late for Nimes. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tom Brown)