Mon, Mar 18, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Lyon slump to loss, Evian end Lille’s winning streak


LOSC Lille Metropole’s Salomon Kalou, left, scores against Evian Thonon Gaillard in their Ligue 1 match in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Second-placed Olympique Lyonnais’ hopes of catching league leaders Paris Saint-Germain received a blow on Saturday when they lost 4-1 to SC Bastia.

Lyon’s defensive frailties were exposed as promising youngster Florian Thauvin scored twice for the Corsican club.

Bastia midfielder Thauvin capitalized on a counterattack to score into an empty net on the stroke of halftime.

Lisandro Lopez equalized with a volley in the 54th minute, but Bastia recaptured the lead two minutes later with a low strike from Anthony Modeste. Thauvin added a third goal in the 61st minute, before Wahbi Khazri sealed the win in the 87th.

PSG could increase their lead to seven points by beating AS Saint-Etienne yesterday.

“We missed a great chance to put pressure on Paris Saint-Germain,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told Canal Plus television. “The players failed to rise to the occasion. I’m very disappointed . I personally put the blame on my players, who showed more confidence in individual talks and in their desire to negotiate their contracts.”

Also on Saturday, it was LOSC Lille Metropole 1, Evian Thonon Gaillard 2; Montpellier Herault 1, ES Troyes AC 1; Lorient 4, Stade Brestois 29 0; Stade de Reims 1, Stade Rennais 0; and Sochaux-Montbeliard 1, Valenciennes 1.

Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff made his first start since Jan. 18 and the Bastia defense cleared one of his free-kicks into the path of Khazri, who held off Samuel Umtiti to feed Thauvin for the opening goal.

Lopez leveled by flicking home another free-kick from Gourcuff, but Lyon’s title hopes took a hit within five minutes. Khazri chased a clearance from Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau to slip a through ball for Modeste, who beat Remy Vercoutre for his 10th goal this season.

On loan from Lille, the 20-year-old Thauvin initiated the third goal by combining with Claudio Beauvue, before burying the ball into the bottom corner. Khazri then took advantage of the passivity of the Lyon defense to curl a shot into the top corner in the closing minutes.

The score could have been harsher for Lyon as Modeste was denied by Vercoutre in the 79th minute and a set-piece from Beauvue hit the post in the 81st.

Evian put an end to Lille’s five-game winning run in the league.

Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou opened the scoring in the seventh minute, but Evian striker Saber Khlifa equalized in the 30th with an assist from Cedric Barbosa. Djakaridja Kone notched the winner in the 68th minute with a header that took a deflection off Kalou.

Lille had the opportunity to salvage a draw, but Kalou fired a penalty over the bar in the 73rd minute.

The 2010-2011 champions remained in sixth place, five points behind third-placed Olympique de Marseille.

Knocked out of the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue, Montpellier’s only ambition left is to chase a European spot.

Gaetan Charbonnier volleyed home for the defending champions in the eighth minute, but Troyes teenager Corentin Jean leveled with a sudden low drive in the 51st, showing the two goals he scored the previous weekend in the 4-2 win over Reims were no fluke.

Montpellier stayed seventh, one point behind Lille.

In the battle for survival, Mohamed Fofana helped Reims move away from the relegation zone by heading in a cross from Antoine Devaux in the 32nd minute.

In Lorient, forward Julien Quercia followed up to score in the third minute after Brest goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux had denied Benjamin Corgnet. Yann Jouffre doubled the lead from close range in the eighth minute, before midfielder Wesley Lautoa made it 3-0 in the 39th. Gilles Sunu replaced Quercia in the second half and rounded off the scoring in the 81st minute.

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