Lyon stumble in race for Champions League place

Patrick Hertzog, AFP | Lyon's French midfielder Nabil Fekir (C) vies with Strasbourg midfielders in a Ligue 1 match on March 9, 2019.

Lyon dropped vital points in the race to qualify automatically for the Champions League, throwing away a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw at Strasbourg in the French league on Saturday.


Lyon looked in total control at 2-0 up before poor defending allowed two goals within a minute. It could prove costly. The draw leaves third-placed Lyon four points behind second-placed Lille, who will take on fifth-placed Saint-Etienne on Sunday. The teams will have 10 matches remaining after this weekend.

Lyon striker Moussa Dembele got his second of the game from the penalty spot early in the second half, with defender Lamine Kone at fault on both goals.

But Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajorque pulled one back in the 69th minute with a header that scuffed off his shoulder and rolled past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who misjudged the flight. Following the restart, Lyon midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop carelessly lost the ball, allowing ninth-placed Strasbourg to set up Ajorque for the equaliser.

Lyon strikers Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay and central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele were on the bench, rested with a view to Wednesday's last-16 return leg at Barcelona in the Champions League. Lyon drew the home leg 0-0 .

Strasbourg gifted Lyon the opener after three minutes when Kone's poor back pass was intercepted by forward Martin Terrier. His curling shot was well saved and, after Maxwell Cornet's effort was also stopped, Dembele tapped home.

After Kone clumsily gave away a penalty, Dembele slotted in his 11th league goal in 23 games since joining from Scottish champions Celtic.

Later Saturday, Leonardo Jardim's improving Monaco side will look to move further away from relegation trouble with a home win against struggling Bordeaux, who just hired former Portugal midfielder Paulo Sousa as their new manager.

Runaway league leader PSG's match at Nantes was scheduled for Saturday but postponed, with police resources stretched due to a 17th straight weekend of anti-government protests from the yellow vest movement .

The Parisians could do with being out of the spotlight.

The club are reeling from Wednesday's injury-time elimination by Manchester United in the Champions League, losing 3-1 at home after winning 2-0 away.

On Sunday, striker Mario Balotelli faces his old teammates when Marseille play Nice.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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