Lacazette gives much-needed win to Lyon in French league
PARIS (AP) — Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette received a welcome confidence boost as he scored a second league goal this season to give his struggling club a much-needed 1-0 win over in-form Reims on Saturday.
Lacazette’s fine finish sealed Lyon’s second win in seven matches in all competitions following back-to-back losses against Bordeaux in the league and Valencia at home in the Champions League.
Lacazette, the French league’s top goal scorer last season, missed a penalty when he hit the crossbar in the 41st minute but made amends before the interval with a low shot into the corner.
Lacazette’s goal lifted the club to fifth in the standings, level on points with Reims but with a better goal difference. Fourth-place Rennes also has 15 points ahead of Sunday’s match in Monaco.
The three clubs are five points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, which hosts Marseille Sunday.
Under heavy showers at the Stade Gerland, Lyon put on a spirited and offensive display that immediately put the visitors on the back foot.
Hubert Fournier’s team created three good chances within the first 25 minutes before Lacazette earned a penalty as he fought for the ball with Jaba Kankava in the box. But Lacazette, who has recently confessed confidence struggles, missed the target from the spot for the second time this season.
Lacazette was clinical four minutes later, though, when his strike took a slight deflection off defender Franck Signorino and went into the back of the net to finish a swift counterattack ignited by Sergi Darder’s long ball. Lacazette celebrated his first goal from open play since last April by pretending to release an arrow from a bow before his teammates jumped on him and yelled.
“It makes me feel good, they are all behind me,” said Lacazette, who was flagged offside in the 67th minute after diverting Steed Malbranque’s shot into the net.
Lyon forward Claudio Beauvue smashed the crossbar with a header in the 56th minute and keeper Anthony Lopez ensured Lyon remained within reasonable distance of PSG with a last-minute save that denied Prince Oniangue’s inspired half-volley.
Torrential rain played havoc in Nice, where the hosts were tied at 2-2 with Nantes after 46 minutes when their match was suspended. After Jules Iloki put the visitors ahead, Valere Germain scored a brace for Nice and Adrien Thomasson leveled with a header five minutes before halftime. The French league said that the pitch was flooded and unplayable and decided that the match will be replayed at a date still to be determined.
Angers continued its excellent run of form with a 1-0 win over Bastia for its fifth league victory, a result that provisionally lifted the promoted side to second place in the standings, two points behind PSG. Billy Ketkeophomphone scored the winner in the 41st minute against a Bastia side which had only four attempts at goal.
Elsewhere, last-place Ajaccio failed to hold on to its lead in a 2-2 draw against Toulouse after defender Issiaga Sylla scored an own goal by diverting a shot from Martin Braithwaite into the net and Guingamp won 1-0 at 10-man Troyes.