Lyon take derby honours to boost European hopes
Lyon built on their midweek Champions League win over Juventus as Moussa Dembele's brace gave them a 2-0 win over bitter derby rivals Saint-Etienne on Sunday, lifting them up to fifth in France's top flight.
Former Celtic striker Dembele was left unmarked to convert a Martin Terrier free-kick delivery with his shoulder to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark.
He then netted a last-gasp penalty for his 16th league goal of the campaign, sealing a win which increased the pressure on Saint-Etienne coach Claude Puel.
It was a third consecutive victory in 10 days for Lyon, who have been enduring a disappointing season in Ligue 1 and are still seven points away from Rennes in third place, the last Champions League qualifying berth in France.
Rudi Garcia's side had outfought Juventus to claim a 1-0 win against all expectation in midweek in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
They are due to head to Italy later this month for the return leg, where they will hope to advance from a knockout tie in that competition for the first time in a decade.
Meanwhile, they now go into a French Cup semi-final at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday further boosted by this result, after claiming a deserved victory against their struggling opponents.
Indeed, Lyon had two further goals disallowed in the second half at the Groupama Stadium, with Lucas Tousart -- who scored against Juventus -- having one effort ruled out in the 64th minute for handball.
Then substitute Karl Toko-Ekambi's strike from the edge of the area was disallowed because Dembele was standing in an offside position, blocking the goalkeeper's view.
Lyon needed goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to save well from a Denis Bouanga free-kick and Brazilian defender Fernando Marcal to make one vital late clearance before Dembele sealed the points in stoppage time.
Timothee Kolodziejczak stopped a net-bound Toko-Ekambi shot with his arm in the box, and Dembele took the resulting penalty, scoring despite goalkeeper Jessy Moulin getting a touch.
Saint-Etienne won their last meeting with Lyon in October in what was ex-Leicester City boss Puel's first match in charge of the former European Cup finalists.
However, this was not an enjoyable return to face Lyon, the club he coached between 2008 and 2011. His current team have now taken just seven points from 13 games played since the start of December and are only two points above the relegation zone.
Elsewhere on Sunday, fourth-placed Lille won 1-0 at Nantes thanks to a Benjamin Andre goal, as they moved back to within one point of Rennes. Bordeaux and Nice drew 1-1.
PSG remain 13 points ahead of Marseille at the top after easing to a 4-0 win over Dijon on Saturday despite being without the suspended Neymar. Kylian Mbappe scored twice for the capital side.
Marseille won 3-2 at Nimes on Friday with Argentine striker Dario Benedetto hitting a hat-trick.
© 2020 AFP