Lyon scores dramatic win over top-three rivals Marseille


PARIS: Memphis Depay’s last-gasp winner clinched Lyon a thrilling 3-2 victory at Marseille on Monday that kept them firmly in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Kostas Mitroglou looked to have snatched Marseille a vital point with an 84th-minute equaliser to make it 2-2, but Depay showed great bravery to nod home in the final minute of normal time.

Bruno Genesio’s Lyon are now just two points adrift of their opponents in the race for the third and final Champions League spot, after following a six-game winless run with back-to-back victories.

Marseille had forged ahead in the 31st minute through Portuguese defender Rolando, but Lyon levelled as Adil Rami put through his own net before Houssem Aouar scored early in the second period.

Both sides clashed after the final whistle, with fights also breaking out in the tunnel as Marseille frustrations boiled over.

Olympique de Marseille’s Greek forward Konstantinos Mitroglou (right) vies with Lyon’s Brazilian defender Marcelo during the French L1 football match Marseille (OM) vs Lyon (OL) on Monday at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, southern France. AFP PHOTO

“Over the whole game, it was deserved, we had more chances and we controlled the game,” said Lyon coach Genesio.

“We’re back to two points and it’s very possible to catch them, but we need to repeat the performances we put in against the big teams against the so-called weaker teams.”

Both teams looked dangerous going forward early on, with Lyon forward Mariano Diaz seeing an effort spin narrowly wide of the far post, before visiting goalkeeper denied Dimitri Payet with a sprawling save.

Marseille dominated possession, but Lyon always looked a threat on the counter-attack and Steve Mandanda had to get down quickly to push away Bertrand Traore’s low drive.

It was Rudi Garcia’s hosts who struck the first blow, though, as Rami nodded a Payet free-kick back across the area for his center-back partner Rolando to turn the ball in through the legs of Lopes.

Mandanda made a magnificent save to tip Maxwel Cornet’s curling effort onto the post, but Lyon equalized in fortuitous circumstances shortly afterwards.

Traore completely miskicked with the goal gaping, but the ball ricocheted off Rami and looped past a stranded Mandanda.

It took Lyon less than seven minutes of the second period to take a deserved lead, as Traore picked out Aouar on the edge of the area and the 19-year-old midfielder curled low into the corner to score his fourth league goal of the season.

A draw would have been an excellent result for Marseille with a five-point lead to defend, but Lyon continued to outplay their hosts and Mandanda had to show all of his agility to get a vital hand on Traore’s backheeled effort.

Marseille managed to get a grip on proceedings and some terrible defending from the away side gifted Mitroglou the equalizer as Jeremy Morel’s sliced clearance dropped for the Greek striker to head home.

But former Manchester United winger Depay, who came on as a second-half substitute, leapt highest to direct Diaz’s flick-on header into the far corner and spark wild Lyon celebrations.



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