PARIS: Lyon moved above Monaco and into second spot and automatic qualification for the Champions League with a 2-0 win at Montpellier on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Maxwell Cornet’s quickfire first half brace pushed the in-form former multiple champions onto 55 points, but in line for the ticket to the Champions League on goal difference.
Monaco can regain second if they beat Lille on Sunday.
This was Lyon’s eighth win from their last 10 games, a run that has catapulted them back into contention for Europe’s top club competition.
Their fine run continued when Jordan Ferri set up Cornet for the 34th minute opener, with the striker following up from close range six minutes later after great work from Alexandre Lacazette.
Aside from the three points Lyon will also have been relieved at the presence on the bench of Nabil Fekir.
The France international missed seven months with a serious knee injury but returned to action with Lyon’s reserve team last weekend.
And the 22-year-old was introduced for Cornet with quarter of an hour to go for his first taste of Ligue 1 action since August 29.
“It’s been seven months, it feels good to be back on the pitch,” he said.
“I was waiting for him [coach Bruno Genesio]to call me up. We won, that’s the main thing.”
On his prospects of securing a place on Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2016 France squad he added: “Frankly, that would be a bonus. After an injury like mine it’s complicated to comeback.”
The loss left Montpellier hovering above the drop zone, four points from safety.
On Sunday, Monaco face a taxing trip to Lille, who have undergone a remarkable turnaround under Frederic Antonetti and are gunning for a fifth win in a row.
On Saturday, champions Paris Saint-Germain will use their visit to Guingamp to iron out the mistakes that plagued them in their 2-2 draw against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
Laurent Blanc’s side have their hands full going into next week’s return leg in England having drawn Wednesday’s encounter 2-2 at the Parc des Princes.