Lyon travelled away to sixth-placed Lille on Friday night to maintain their hopes of a European qualification alive. As usual, the Paulo Fonseca-led side enjoyed a fair bit of possession, helped in that regard by Les Gones’ disjointed press. The first opportunity of the game fell to the visitors, though. Bradley Barcola went through on goal, but Lucas Chevalier perfectly read his attempt to round past him.
Lyon gradually grew into the game but neither side really managed to create-clear cut opportunities as both set of strikers were expertly handled. Lille’s first attempt on target came from a Jonathan Bamba shot from a tight angle, but Lyon’s back-up goalkeeper Rémy Riou was not impressed.
As the second half started, Lille caught Lyon napping. Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren left Bamba too much time and space to lay a perfect cross for Jonathan David to become Les Dogues’ best goalscorer of the 21st century, overtaking Eden Hazard’s 50-goal tally. Gabriel Gudmundsson was close to making it two, but Riou came to the fore with Lille dominating proceedings and pushing for a second goal. Lyon were then caught on the counter, with Rayan Cherki at fault for pushing Gudmundsson in the penalty box. David got his brace from the spot.
Lyon were headed for another disappointing Ligue 1 outing, but luck came their way. Cherki’s back-heel was clumsily cleared by Benjamin André into the path of promising winger Bradley Barcola, who made no mistake to halve the deficit. Les Gones went all-in with Alexandre Lacazette returning from injury for the last twenty minutes. The former Arsenal man was a dangerous man in the box, but not the one he intended at first. He oddly handled a tame Rémy Cabella free-kick to offer David the chance to overtake Kylian Mbappé as Ligue 1’s best goalscorer from the spot. The Canadian duly obliged.
Lacazette quickly made amends. Saël Kumbedi curled a perfect inviting cross for the former Gunner to head home. Lacazette did even better for the equaliser at the 89th minute: a first-time curling effort into Chevalier’s left top corner after remarkable work from Barcola, leaving the Stade Pierre-Mauroy completely stunned. An on-fire Lacazette was close to the winner but Chevalier thwarted his injury-time chip. It was end-to-end stuff, and Lille thought they had the win wrapped up when referee Benoît Bastien gave them a penalty in the dying seconds. But he was called to VAR and overturned the decision, as he considered that David had dived following slight contact with Kumbedi.
Again, Lille were the better team on the pitch but, again, they failed to make it count on the scoreline and lost two precious points in the race for the European qualifying spots. Lyon, somehow, are still in the running for it and will leave northern France with a big sigh of relief.
Lille players ratings
Lucas Chevalier, 4
Gabriel Gudmundsson, 4
Lenny Yoro, 5
Timothy Weah, 5 – As a makeshift full-back, the American can largely hold his own. The son of 1995 Ballon d’Or winner George Weah was solid defence-wise and an effectual outlet going forward.
Benjamin André, 5
André Gomes, 6 – Again, the former Everton man was Lille’s most consistent player at the heart of the game thanks to his vision and passing range.
Rémy Cabella, 5
Angel Gomes, 6
Jonathan Bamba, 5
Jonathan David, 8 – For his 100th Ligue 1 game, the Canadian free-scoring forward was a hard man to find in the first half. He made it up on scoring with his first touch of the second. Coolly dispatched both his penalties to seal a treble, with only 3 shots on target. The race for Ligue 1’s best goalscorer is heating up between the Canadian and PSG’s Kylian Mbappé.
Lyon players ratings
Rémy Riou, 4 – The 35-year-old back-up keeper had little to do but he should have come out of his line sooner to prevent David from scoring the opener.
Sinaly Diomandé, 4
Dejan Lovren, 5 – In the first half, the former Liverpool man had kept David mostly at bay. But it was all for nothing as he did nothing to prevent Bamba from assisting the Canadian.
Castello Lukeba, 4
Nicolas Tagliafico, 4 – The Argentine World champion had a very quiet outing and failed to strike an understanding with Rayan Cherki up on the left-wing. He failed to track David for the opener
Johann Lepenant, 3
Corentin Tolisso, 3
Bradley Barcola, 6
Maxence Caqueret, 4
Rayan Cherki, 4 – Lyon’s prized asset was way too isolated on the left wing and had too little of an influence on the visitors’ attacking plays. Conceded the penalty for the second Lille goal but was involved in Barcola’s goal. Replaced by Lacazette who got a hand on three goals in twenty minutes, including a Lille one.
Amin Sarr, 2 – The Swedish striker lost most of his 50/50 duels and the rare balls he was given. He is not Alexandre Lacazette, and it showed.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval