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BC-SOC--French Roundup

April 6, 2019
AP Sports Writer

PARIS (AP) — Lyon jeopardized its chances of direct qualification for the Champions League next season with a 3-1 home loss to Dijon in the French league on Saturday, potentially leaving coach Bruno Genesio’s future at the club hanging in the balance.

The defeat came only four days after the seven-time French league champions exited the French Cup in poor fashion — losing 3-2 to Rennes in the semifinals at home — and provoked the ire of Lyon fans. They whistled their own players in the final minutes on Saturday, called for Genesio’s departure and even encouraged the rival team.

“It hurts a lot,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said. “It’s not acceptable to be against your own players. We are in third place, we’ll do the math at the end.”

Lyon remained third in the standings, four points behind Lille, which has a game in hand and travels to Reims on Sunday. The top two teams automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage.

Dijon, which began the day at the bottom, moved to 18th in its fight against relegation.

The match started at a fast pace for Lyon, which quickly took the lead when Martin Terrier connected with a fine cross from Nabil Fekir down the right.

But Lyon’s usual defensive inadequacies were also on display and the hosts could not hold onto their lead for more than a minute as Wesley Said made the most of a headed cutback from Julio Tavares to level in the third. Said capitalized on loose marking inside the box to play a one-two with his teammate, dribble past two defenders and then beat Anthony Lopes with a clean finish.

Said struck again four minutes later on the break with a left-footed strike that took a deflection off Marcelo.

Lyon dominated the rest of the first half and Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson made two decisive stops, including an impressive reflex save that denied Marcelo’s powerful header from close range.

Lyon pushed hard for an equalizer and put on a fine display of attacking football after the interval but their profligacy in front of goal kept Dijon in the lead.

Runarsson made another great save to stop a header from Moussa Dembele on his line in the 61st, and Lyon was finally made to pay for its sterile attack when defender Rafael inadvertently diverted a cutback from Said to beat his own goalkeeper.

With a 20-point lead at the top, PSG is just two wins away from a sixth title in seven years but could secure the title on Sunday if it beats Strasbourg, and Lille fails to win at Reims.

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