Ligue 1: Lyon puts pressure on title rivals with win over Lens
PARIS (AP) — French league leader Lyon increased the pressure on its title rivals Saturday as the seven-time champion beat struggling Lens 2-0 for the club's sixth straight victory.
In-form striker Alexandre Lacazette, the league's top scorer, took his tally to 20 goals in 21 games after converting from the penalty spot in the 26th — four minutes after Jean-Philippe Gbamin diverted the ball into his own net to put the visitors ahead.
After picking up just three points from its first four matches this season, Hubert Fournier's team has lost only one game since and produced sparkling football to climb to the top of the standings last weekend. Lyon's fourth away win this season extended its lead over second-place Marseille to four points. Lens remained second from bottom.
Despite the poor turf at Amiens' Stade de La Licorne, where Lens is playing most of its home matches during renovation work at its ground, Lyon's youngsters were dangerous from the start. Goalkeeper Rudy Riou made a good save to deny Nabil Fekir's effort in the 7th minute.
Fekir, one of the most exciting young players in the league this season, was then involved in Lyon's opener when he crossed the ball into the area, only for Gbamin to fumble his clearance and beat Riou after hitting the ball with his heel.
Lyon did not wait long before extending its lead after referee Amaury Delerue awarded the visitors a penalty for a handball from Boubacar Sylla in the box, with Lacazette sending Riou the wrong way.
Lens, which remains two points away from safety but has played one more game than its rivals in the relegation fight, played better after the interval. However, the hosts lacked a cutting edge as Pablo Chavarria lost his duel with 'keeper Anthony Lopes in the 67th.
Lacazette, who has been nurtured by Lyon since he was 10, and Corentin Tolisson combined well with a neat one-two three minutes later but Lacazette missed the target, firing his shot into the side netting.
Marseille hosts Guingamp on Sunday while defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is up against Evian.