Olympique Lyonnais completed a miserable week by slumping to a third straight defeat as they were thumped 4-2 at home by a resurgent Montpellier Herault in Ligue 1 on Friday.
Unheralded Chadian striker Casimir Ninga was the hero for Montpellier with a brace in between a Maxime Gonalons own-goal and a Souleymane Camara strike for the visitors, who ran riot against shambolic Lyon defending at the Stade de Gerland.
Alexandre Lacazette and Rachid Ghezzal netted for the home side, but this was a worrying performance from Hubert Fournier’s team, who were lucky not to lose by a much wider margin.
Soundly beaten 3-0 at OGC Nice a week ago, last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up were sent packing from the Champions League with a 2-1 home loss to Gent on Tuesday last week, and this was their fourth loss in five outings this month.
Lyon remain in second place for now, but are 13 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and the five sides below them are all within three points, so they risk plummeting down the table after tonight’s games.
“We had a difficult European campaign in which we made too many errors and now an early goal from my mistake put us in trouble,” captain Gonalons told beIN Sports. “We just need to keep working. Without a great performance by Antho [Lopes] we would have lost much more heavily.”
“We are a big club and everything the people who were here before us built we must not throw away. We need to be men, not behave like boys,” he added.
The contrast with the good times of last season, when OL hammered Montpellier 5-1 home and away, were stark at a Gerland where both ends of the ground were left empty as a punishment for trouble after the recent derby win against AS Saint-Etienne and loud jeers rung out from the reduced crowd at full time.
After a dreadful start to the campaign, 2012 champions Montpellier were looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run in the league and score a third consecutive victory.
Montpellier took an early lead when Gonalons turned a low Jerome Roussillon cross into his own net, followed by Ninga doubling their advantage in the 11th minute by holding off Rafael before slotting past Anthony Lopes.
Lyon quickly got back into the game, as Lacazette nodded in after a Claudio Beauvue effort had been blocked on the line.
However, Montpellier looked like scoring every time they broke into the home half and Lopes had to come to Lyon’s rescue on more than one occasion before the interval, notably to save from Ninga.
Nevertheless, Montpellier did score again within three minutes of the restart thanks to more horrendous defending. Rafael’s short back pass put Roussillon through, and while Lopes saved at his feet, Ninga was on hand to convert the follow-up.
It was a third goal in French soccer for Ninga, the 22-year-old striker from Chad who was playing in Gabon last season.
Clement Grenier made his first appearance of the season after injury for Lyon when he replaced Mathieu Valbuena on the hour, but Montpellier continued to make chances and substitute Camara got a fourth goal when he finished after his initial effort had been saved.
Ghezzal pulled another goal back from a free-kick for the hosts, but that was scant consolation.
PSG yesterday were to host winless bottom club ESTAC Troyes, while Nice had the chance to leapfrog Lyon into second when they played at Toulouse.
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