Lyon consolidate top spot, as PSG fall to Nice
PARIS - Lyon underlined their title credentials as they beat defending champions Montpellier 1-0 on Saturday to move five points clear at the top of Ligue 1, while chasing Paris Saint-Germain slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Nice.
Fresh off his first Ligue 1 hat-trick in Wednesday’s 4-1 rout of title-rivals Marseille, Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis scored the game’s only goal on 26 minutes to hand Remi Garde’s side a seventh home win of the season.
“It was a difficult victory because we dominated the first half but less so in the second because Montpellier improved as a unit, were more aggressive and it was harder for us to control the match,” said Garde.
Victory for Lyon lifted them onto 31 points, five ahead of Saint-Etienne, PSG and Marseille, while Montpellier remained in 12th on 17 points.
“We are leaders but once again the championship doesn’t end on Sunday,” Garde added.
Marseille can reduce the deficit when they travel to Brest on Sunday.
France international Gomis put Lyon in front with his 10th goal of the season after he latched on to Clement Grenier’s through ball and struck a crisp effort that beat Jonathan Ligali, deputising for the injured Geoffrey Jourdren, all too easily.
Ligali did markedly better to push away a subsequent Grenier free-kick minutes later, while Lyon keeper Remy Vercoutre was on hand to make two second-half saves from Chilean midfielder Marco Estrada.
Souleymane Camara came close to an equaliser with just under 20 minutes remaining as he drifted in from the right, firing a low left-footed strike narrowly wide of the far post, while Gomis was prevented from adding to his tally late on by Ligali.
Meanwhile, PSG saw their title challenge suffer another setback as they were dealt their third league defeat of the season on the Cote d’Azur.
The Parisians’ faltering form has seen them pick up just four points from a possible 15 as the pressure intensifies on manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Eric Bautheac gave Nice a 76th-minute lead, stabbing home a rebound after Nicolas Douchez had half-stopped his first attempt before Zlatan Ibrahimovic restored parity seven minutes later with a powerful free-kick.
But Nice, who are arguably the division’s form team having won three of their last four, had the final say as Valentin Eysseric guided home Timothee Kolodziejczak’s cross on 86 minutes before Blaise Matuidi was dismissed in stoppage time for a second caution.
“We played a lot as individuals,” admitted Ancelotti. “We couldn’t find a collective solution. We lacked aggression and intensity but also responsibility from the players.
“To take just four points from a possible 15 is not normal for a team which wants to win.”
Elsewhere, Rafael Dias earned a point for Sochaux with an 87th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Bordeaux.
Loic Poujol had given the visitors a first-half lead, but an own-goal from Jerome Roussillon and Yoan Gouffran‘s sixth of the season put Bordeaux in front before Dias’s late intervention.
Yohan Mollo earned Bottom side Nancy a point following their 1-1 draw at Evian after the hosts had led through Brice Dja Djedje’s stunning strike.
Algerian midfielder Foued Kadir was on target as Valenciennes beat Reims 1-0, while Lille and Bastia finished goalless.