Lyon striker Lacazette scores again in 2-0 win at Lens
PARIS (AP) — French league leader Lyon increased the pressure on its title rivals as it beat struggling Lens 2-0 for a sixth straight victory on Saturday.
In-form striker Alexandre Lacazette, the league top-scorer, took his tally to 20 in 21 games after converting from the penalty spot in the 26th — four minutes after Jean-Philippe Gbamin diverted the ball into his own net to put the visitors ahead.
After picking up just three points from its first four matches this season, Hubert Fournier’s team has lost only one game since, and produced sparkling football to climb to the top of the standings last weekend. Lyon’s fourth away win extended its lead over second-place Marseille to four points. Lens remained second from bottom.
“Life is beautiful, it makes one more win on a difficult turf,” said Lacazette, who became the first player to bag 20 goals in 21 league games since PSG striker Carlos Bianchi in 1978. “The most important thing is that we keep moving forward. We know our strength but we remain well aware that we are not invincible. I also set myself a personal objective in terms of goals, and it would be good to break the record.”
Josip Skoblar holds the record of 44 goals in a single season for Marseille, back in 1971.
Despite the poor pitch at Amiens’ Stade de La Licorne, where Lens is playing most of its home matches during renovation work at its ground, Lyon’s youngsters were dangerous from the start. Goalkeeper Rudy Riou made a good save to deny Nabil Fekir’s effort in the 7th minute.
Fekir, one of the most exciting young players in the league, was involved in Lyon’s opener when he crossed into the area, only for Gbamin to fumble his clearance and beat Riou after hitting the ball with his heel.
Lyon did not wait long before extending its lead after referee Amaury Delerue awarded the visitors a penalty for a handball from Boubacar Sylla in the box, with Lacazette sending Riou the wrong way.
Lens, which remains two points away from safety, played better after the interval. However, the hosts lacked a cutting edge as Pablo Chavarria lost his duel with ’keeper Anthony Lopes in the 67th.
Lacazette, who has been nurtured by Lyon since he was 10, and Corentin Tolisson combined well with a neat one-two three minutes later but Lacazette missed the target.
Marseille hosts Guingamp on Sunday while defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is up against Evian.
Despite its hectic schedule, last year’s runner-up, Monaco, moved within two points of fourth-place PSG with a 1-0 win against Nantes, extending its unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 matches. Bernardo Silva scored the winner from the rebound in the 73rd minute after Layvin Kurzawa’s shot took a deflection.
Monaco produced a sixth straight clean sheet after Johan Audel was denied a late equalizer by the crossbar in added time.
Last-place Caen claimed only its fourth win of the season with a 4-1 win over Reims, Raphael Guerreiro gave Lorient a 1-0 victory against Lille, and Lucas Barrios’ hat trick helped Montpellier top Metz 3-2.