Lyon misses chance to move 4 points clear after Lorient draw
Feb. 15, 2015
PARIS (AP) — French league leader Lyon missed the chance to move four points clear of title rivals Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille after drawing 1-1 away to Lorient on Sunday.
The top three all drew this weekend, meaning that Lyon stays two points ahead of Marseille and PSG — who conceded late goals when they drew their home games 2-2.
Clinton Njie grabbed the equalizer for Lyon in the 78th minute of a closely-contested match after Ghana forward Jordan Ayew gave Lorient the lead early in the second half.
"We couldn't expect any more from tonight. We were average and I include myself in that," Lyon coach Hubert Fournier said, regretting that he started the game with former France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff on the bench. "When Gourcuff came on things started to change. There was far more continuity in our play."
Lyon was again without 21-goal league top scorer Alexandre Lacazatte, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, meaning that 18-year-old Maxwell Cornet started up front with the 21-year-old Njie in a makeshift attack.
"We got away with it because we came up short in many ways," Fournier said. "The two kids up front didn't really make an impact. But we did well to get back into it."
Lacazette had scored 13 in nine games prior to his injury three games ago. Without him, Lyon has drawn three straight games — the others away to Monaco and at home to PSG — and scored only twice. Njie also scored in the 1-1 draw with PSG last weekend.
Lorient started brightly on its plastic playing surface, and striker Benjamin Jeannot raced through in the third minute after being set up by midfielder Walid Mesloub, but goalkeeper Anthony Lopes made a fine save.
Jeannot headed just wide as Lorient piled forward, and then Lyon hit back as midfielder Nabil Fekir forced goalie Benjamin Lecomte into a low save.
A week after losing the African Cup of Nations final to Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shootout, Ayew grabbed his seventh league goal of the season in the 50th minute, getting ahead of center half Lindsay Rose and heading Jeannot's cross to the left of Lopes. His older brother, Andre Ayew, scored for Marseille against Reims on Friday night.
Lyon almost equalized moments later when Umtiti forced Lecomte into a fine reflex save, and Fekir dragged his shot wide after collecting a pass from Njie.
Lyon's efforts paid off when Gourcuff released fullback Henri Bedimo down the left and Njie fired in from his cross.
Lemonte rescued Lorient in the 85th with a fine save from right back Christophe Jallet's deflected strike.
"We're disappointed because we came here to win," Bedimo said. "The first half was very difficult, they really stretched us and we couldn't get going."
Earlier Uruguay forward Diego Rolan scored his seventh league goal of the season as Bordeaux beat Saint-Etienne 1-0 to edge closer to fourth place.
Bordeaux remains sixth but is only one point behind fourth-place Saint-Etienne.
Meanwhile, Guingamp won 2-0 win last-place Metz to move up to eighth, scoring in the first half through striker Christophe Mandanne and midfielder Jeremy Pied.
PSG drew at home to Caen on Saturday night, conceding two goals in the last four minutes of the game.