Lyon down Montpellier to consolidate top spot
PARIS (AFP) –
Lyon underlined their title credentials as they beat defending champions Montpellier 1-0 on Saturday to provisionally move five points clear at the top of Ligue 1, with Bafetimbi Gomis notching his 10th goal of the campaign.
Fresh off his first Ligue 1 hat-trick in Wednesday’s 4-1 rout of title-rivals Marseille, 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 the chasing trio of Saint-Etienne, Paris-Saint Germain 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.
PSG can reduce the deficit when they travel to Nice later on Saturday, while Marseille will have the chance to do likewise on Sunday at Brest.
France international Gomis put Lyon in front 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.