Lyon beat Gazelec to set up Monaco make-or-break clash255 views
PARIS: Lyon beat Gazelec-Ajaccio 2-1 on Saturday 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 defence, 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.
For Toulouse this was a precious point in their battle to avoid relegation.
And they had their goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier to thank after he saved a penalty and produced a series of other saves.
Toulouse have 34 points, two adrift of Reims, who lost 3-2 to Montpellier.
On Friday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Rennes 4-0 to equal their own Ligue 1 points record.
Ibrahimovic increased his goals haul to 34 for the season with Maxwell and Edinson Cavani netting either side of the Swede’s brace as PSG moved onto 89 points, matching their total from 2013-14, with three games still to play.
Down at the foot of the table second-from-bottom earned a precious point in a 0-0 draw at saint-Etienne with goalkeeper. – AFP
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