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BC-SOC--French Roundup,1st Ld-Writethru

March 31, 2019
AP Sports Writer

PARIS (AP) — Nantes and Lille failed to get a single shot on target during the first half of their French league game on Sunday, and then produced five goals in 15 minutes.

The goal bonanza at Nantes’ La Beaujoire stadium ultimately rewarded second-placed Lille, which erased a two-goal deficit to prevail 3-2 and restore its four-point lead over third-placed Lyon in the fight for the second automatic Champions League spot.

Lyon beat Rennes 1-0 on Friday.

“They surprised us and we scared ourselves,” said Lille forward Jonathan Bamba after scoring the winner in the 69th minute. “We knew Lyon came back within a point and we wanted to win this match so hard.”

Nantes captain Valentin Eysseric put the hosts in front in the 54th from the penalty spot before Kalifa Coulibaly jumped higher than defenders to make it 2-0 with a header.

A turning point came when Rafael Leao replaced Luiz Araujo, as the Portuguese striker quickly pulled one back in the 68th.

Forward Nicolas Pepe equalized from the penalty spot before getting past Nicolas Pallois down the right flank to deliver an assist for Bamba, who scored in an empty goal in the 69th.

Eysseric had a golden chance to salvage a point for Nantes after Zeki Celik, who conceded the first penalty, committed another foul in the box. But the midfielder sent his spot kick over and was substituted in the next minute.

CAEN UPSETS MONACO

Forward Enzo Crivelli scored the winner as Caen upset Monaco 1-0 to move out of the automatic relegation zone.

Caen had started the day bottom of the standings but Crivelli made the most of a superb cross from captain Faycal Fajr to beat goalkeeper Danijel Subasic with a header in the 23rd minute for his sixth goal this season.

The result lifted Caen to 18th place, seven points behind Monaco.

The hosts enjoyed most of the possession in the first half but were only able to pepper Caen’s area with inoffensive crosses as Radamel Falcao was too often left on his own in the box.

Monaco improved after the interval and Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba pulled off three decisive saves to deny efforts from Kamil Glik, Carlos Vinicius and Stevan Jovetic.

Luck was also on Samba’s side when Gelson Martins hit the post with a right-footed shot and Jean-Eudes Aholou saw his volley crash onto the Caen crossbar.

OTHER RESULTS

Pierre Lees-Melou scored from outside the box with a curled strike to give Nice a 1-0 win at Dijon while Amiens and Bordeaux drew 0-0.

Leader Paris Saint-Germain can take another step toward a sixth league title in seven years with a win in Toulouse later.

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