Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Fekir, Lacazette fire Lyon back to the top of Ligue 1


AS Saint-Etienne’s Jeremy Clement, right, tries to score past Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte in their Ligue 1 match in Saint-Etienne, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Olympique Lyonnais moved back up above Paris Saint-Germain to the top of the Ligue 1 table on Sunday after Nabil Fekir inspired them to a thrilling 5-1 victory at Montpellier Herault.

Fekir and the league’s leading scorer, Alexandre Lacazette, both bagged braces, while Corentin Tolisso was also on target as OL recovered from falling behind to an early Lucas Barrios goal at the Stade de la Mosson.

It was a very welcome victory for Hubert Fournier’s side, who won just once in five Ligue 1 outings last month, and it ensures they ended the weekend where they started it, on top of the table.

“The match was a little strange,” Fournier said. “We conceded a goal pretty quickly, but we didn’t fall apart, we kept going and came back.”

Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain had temporarily gone top after easing to a 4-1 win at home to Racing Club de Lens on Saturday, but OL are a point clear of the capital club again and four ahead of Olympique de Marseille in third.

Montpellier came into the game on a run of just one defeat in seven matches and they took the lead just six minutes in when Barrios tapped in after great work by Bryan Dabo.

It was the Paraguayan’s eighth goal in his past 10 Ligue 1 games, but in Fekir and Lacazette Lyon boast the most exciting attacking duo in France this season.

The visitors were back level on the half-hour mark, Lacazette converting from the penalty spot after Fekir was brought down in the area by Abdelhamid El Kaoutari.

The outstanding Fekir then scored a magnificent goal to put OL in front, cutting in from the right and playing a one-two with Yoann Gourcuff, before curling a shot past Geoffrey Jourdren and into the far corner of the net.

It was a 10th goal of the season for the talented Fekir, who has been at the center of a tug of war between Algeria and France, with both desperate for him to commit his international future to them.

Fekir and Jordan Ferri both hit the bar in the second half, before Fekir scored again to take him to 11 for the campaign, chipping in after another Gourcuff assist.

Montpellier could have set up a nervy finale after they won a penalty when Samuel Umtiti was harshly adjudged to have fouled Paul Lasne in the area, but Barrios saw his penalty saved by Anthony Lopes and Lyon went on to add two more goals in stoppage-time.

Substitute Mohamed Yattara set up Tolisso for the fourth and then laid the fifth on a plate for Lacazette — his 23rd of the season — as Lyon repeated their 5-1 win against Montpellier in the reverse fixture in October last year.

Earlier on on Sunday, AS Saint-Etienne brought their seven-game winless streak to an end with a 2-0 victory over strugglers Lorient and leapfrogged Girondins de Bordeaux into fifth place, closing in on the European places.

Yohan Mollo came off the bench to break the deadlock with just 15 minutes to go, before Max-Alain Gradel made sure of all three points in stoppage-time, with both goals coming after Lorient’s Didier Ndong had been sent off.

“It’s an important win for us. We needed it after last week’s draw at Toulouse and the Coupe de France win,” said Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier, whose team needed penalties to win at third-tier US Boulogne-sur-Mer in the Coupe.

Meanwhile, En Avant de Guingamp slumped to a third straight league defeat, going down 1-0 at home to LOSC Lille Metropole, with Nolan Roux scoring the only goal of the game.

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