Fekir scores 2 as Lyon beats Montpellier 5-1 to go top
Mar. 08, 2015
PARIS (AP) — Lyon responded to Paris Saint-Germain's big win on Saturday with an even more emphatic performance, romping to a 5-1 victory away to Montpellier to reclaim top spot from PSG in the closely-contested French title race.
League top scorer Alexandre Lacazette struck twice and rising star Nabil Fekir added two expert finishes as Lyon bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Lorient. Next up is another away trip, this time at third-place Marseille next Sunday.
Lyon is one point above PSG — which beat Lens 4-1 on Saturday — and four ahead of Marseille, which won 6-1 at Toulouse on Sunday.
"Of course we can think about the title. We're approaching the home straight now," Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons said. "We have formidable opponents in PSG and Marseille so let's keep our feet on the ground."
After Lucas Barrios gave Montpellier the lead in the sixth minute with his sixth goal in six games, Lyon scored twice in a 10-minute spell through Lacazette's penalty and a fine goal from Fekir, whose second goal in the 72nd was even better.
Former France midfielder Yoann Gourcuff was involved in the first three goals and showed glimpses of the class that once drew comparisons with France great Zinedine Zidane.
But Fekir stole the limelight.
He is soon to decide whether to play for France or Algeria — his father's homeland — and his choice is eagerly anticipated, with France coach Didier Deschamps looking increasingly likely to call up the 21-year-old up for a friendly against Brazil later this month.
Midfielder Corentin Tolisso made it 4-1 before Lacazette volleyed in his 23rd goal of the season, with both goals in injury time. All of Lyon's scorers came through the club's youth academy.
"Tonight we saw the Lyon we want to see every weekend," Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes said.
Lyon got back into the game as Gourcuff's confidence grew in his favored playmaker's role, highlighted by his precious ability to both keep the ball under pressure and dictate play with his probing passing.
From Gourcuff's astute pass, Fekir broke into the penalty area and drew a clumsy foul from defender Abdelhamid El Kaoutari in the 30th.
It is the fifth time this season Fekir has been fouled for a penalty, and Lacazette put it away with aplomb for his first goal since Jan. 25 — the day he limped off with a hamstring injury shortly after scoring a penalty against Metz.
Gourcuff then played a superb one-two with Fekir, with Gourcuff nimbly releasing Fekir into his stride, and he curled the ball into the bottom corner in the 40th.
The goal of the night came as Gourcuff set up Fekir again with a great pass behind the right back, and Fekir's finish had a touch of Lionel Messi. He let the ball roll past him, changed his body shape in a flash and then clipped the ball quickly over the onrushing goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren for his 11th league goal of the season.
After Barrios' 82nd-minute penalty was well saved by Lopes, Lyon showed the strength of its renowned youth academy when Mohamed Yattara came off the bench in the 89th to set up the last two goals.
Earlier, fifth-place Saint-Etienne continued its push for a European spot after beating struggling Lorient 2-0 at home, thanks to goals from wingers Yohan Mollo and Max-Alain Gradel.
Saint-Etienne is one point behind Monaco, having played a game more.
Meanwhile, Lille's improved form continued with striker Nolan Roux scoring in a 1-0 win at Guingamp to move up to eighth spot.