Late goal earns Saint-Etienne derby win over Lyon on Puel debut
Robert Beric scored a last-minute winner as Saint-Etienne defeated bitter rivals Lyon 1-0 on Sunday and new coach Claude Puel made a triumphant start in his first match in charge.
Former Leicester City and Southampton boss Puel replaced Ghislain Printant on Friday after signing a three-year deal with the club that entered the derby clash bottom of Ligue 1.
Lyon began the weekend in trouble of their own, languishing a disappointing 11th after a domestic six-match winless run but buoyed by a Champions League victory at RB Leipzig.
Anthony Lopes tipped a Riyad Boudebouz effort onto the post in a cagey first half at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, and the Lyon goalkeeper made another top reflex save to deny Denis Bouanga on the hour.
Moussa Dembele came off the bench for Lyon and forced Jessy Moulin to palm away his header on 85 minutes, with Houssem Aouar then trickling an effort wide after sneaking in behind the Saint-Etienne.
Beric won it at the death though as he rose superbly to head a Boudebouz cross beyond the reach of Lopes to send Saint-Etienne up to 13th and two points above Lyon.
In-form Victor Osimhen's seventh league goal of the season wasn't enough for Lille as they missed the chance to go third after drawing 2-2 with Nimes.
Nigeria international Osimhen, 20, who also scored in Lille's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Chelsea midweek, struck the hosts' leveller with 11 minutes remaining after a Renaud Ripart penalty at the end of the first half and Kevin Denkey's neat 70th-minute finish had cancelled out Loic Remy's 13th-minute opener.
A win for Lille would have moved them above surprise package Angers following their 4-0 hammering at the hands of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.
Instead Christophe Galtier's side stay in fifth on 15 points from nine matches, but they could have easily lost against a spirited Nimes side that belied their pre-match league position of 17th.
The lively Romain Philippoteaux, who won the spot-kick that Ripart calmly slotted home, came close to scoring a wonderful individual strike when his finish clipped the outside of the post following an exciting dribble.
Reims moved into sixth, a point behind Lille after Boulaye Dia's strike three minutes after half-time consigned former high-fliers Rennes to the latest defeat in a miserable run of form.
Level with PSG at the top of the league at the end of August, Julien Stephan's Rennes haven't won in the eight games in any competition since and have plummeted down to 10th.
Reims meanwhile consolidated a fine start to the season that sees them with the league's best defensive record alongside PSG, with just four goals conceded in nine games.
© 2019 AFP