Lyon stuns Gazelec, sets up Monaco duel

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Lyon’s French forward Maxwel Cornet (right) scores a goal during the French L1 football match Lyon vs Ajaccio at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central eastern France. AFP PHOTO

Lyon’s French forward Maxwel Cornet (right) scores a goal during the French L1 football match Lyon vs Ajaccio at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central eastern France. AFP PHOTO

PARIS: Lyon beat Gazelec-Ajaccio 2-1 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to hold on to the coveted Ligue 1 runner-up spot and automatic entry to the Champions League.

The former multiple French champions are in a tight battle with Monaco for second, with only goal difference splitting the teams.

Monaco kept the pressure on Lyon with a 3-2 defeat of Guingamp to set up a winner-takes-all clash between the sides next weekend.

Lyon took an early lead when Rachid Ghezzal outfoxed the Gazelec defense, scoring directly from a corner.


As the interval approached Maxwell Cornet scored into an open goal after smart work from Alexandre Lacazette and Rafael.

Four minutes after the break the visitors pulled one back with Gregory Pujol conjuring up a superb lob after a counter-attack.

At Monaco, Andrea Raggi put the Principality club into a 17th minute lead against Guingamp, knocking in the rebound after his header hit the crossbar.

As the first half drew to a close Nabil Dirar doubled their lead.

Deep into the second half, Mevlut Erding’s goal gave Guingamp hope, but seconds after the restart fine individual work from Bernardo Silva restored Monaco’s two-goal cushion.

The home side then had to endure a nervy final ten minutes after Benjamin Angoua scored Guingamp’s second.

“It was a deserved victory, now we are going to play ‘the final’ (at Lyon),” said Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim.

“Monaco will be playing for second place in this game. We’ll start preparing for this game from Monday, because tomorrow (Sunday, May 1) is a holiday for everyone.”

Earlier, Nantes delivered a damaging blow to Nice’s Champions League hopes as they inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Claude Puel’s side.

Adrien Thomasson fired home the only goal after 68 minutes at the Stade de la Beaujoire as Nice were punished for failing to properly clear a cross.

Nice had ridden their luck until that point, with Nantes hitting the woodwork on three occasions — once through Emiliano Sala’s first-half header before US international Alejandro Bedoya struck the post and then the bar in the space of five minutes.

Nice slipped to fifth, one point behind Saint-Etienne who drew 0-0 with Toulouse as Nantes snapped a run of five games without a win.

AFP

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