Lyon bounce back with Lille win
Lyon put their UEFA Champions League heartache behind them by beating French champions Lille 2-1 today to revitalise their attempt to qualify for next season's competition.
Remi Garde's side finished the game with ten men following the dismissal of Dejan Lovren, but first-half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Lisandro Lopez proved enough to arrest a five-game winless run that had sent them tumbling down the table.
Having been dumped out of the Champions League by Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in midweek, Lyon now find themselves four points behind third-placed Lille in sixth as the race to qualify for Europe's premier club competition intensifies.
Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson was in attendance, reportedly to watch Lille's Eden Hazard, but the Belgian winger was eclipsed as Lyon secured a desperately needed victory after weeks of uncertain performances.
Lacazette had missed a penalty in Lyon's shoot-out loss to APOEL but he began to atone by giving Lyon the lead in the 12th minute with a downward header after a surging run and cross by left-back Mouhamadou Dabo.
Lisandro curled a fine shot inside the right-hand post from the edge of the box to double the hosts' advantage, but Lille replied on the stroke of half-time when Aurelien Chedjou met Benoit Pedretti's corner with a near-post header.
Michel Bastos struck the Lille crossbar with a trademark free-kick after the interval, but most of the traffic in the second half went in the direction of the Lyon goal. Substitute Tulio de Melo hit the bar with a header and then shot wide from Gianni Bruno's cut-back, while Hugo Lloris had to scramble the ball off the line from Nolan Roux and save twice from the industrious Dimitri Payet.
Cris was fortunate not to be sent off after flinging an elbow at Payet but Lovren did receive his marching orders after he was shown a second yellow card for tripping Hazard. Fortunately for him, Lyon held on.