Old boy Benzia condemns Lyon to defeat
Yassine Benzia punished former side Lyon with his first goals of the season to hand Lille a 2-1 win at Parc OL in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Algeria international Benzia, who joined Lille from Lyon in 2015, scored for the first time in over a year with a deflected first-half strike before adding a second from the penalty spot.
Alexandre Lacazette halved the deficit with a late spot-kick for Lyon, but Lille clung on amid a fractious finale to snap a four-game winless run.
They climbed two spots to 11th while Lyon remain eight points adrift of the Champions League places, a second defeat in a fortnight reducing their already slim title hopes even further.
"It was a bad evening, mainly because we dropped three very important points in the race for the podium," bemoaned Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, whose side go to Marseille in the French Cup on Tuesday.
"We thought after the good win over Marseille (last weekend) we could string a run of results together. Now we have to be able to bounce back and get back on the same page."
Dutch international Memphis Depay made his first start for Lyon following his arrival from Manchester United and won an early free-kick that Mathieu Valbuena curled against the crossbar.
Nabil Fekir shot straight at Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama after weaving into the area, while Lille should have gone ahead when Eric Bautheac skied over from point-blank range.
The visitors took the lead though on 38 minutes as Benzia's shot from outside the area brushed off Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and left Anthony Lopes wrongfooted in the Lyon goal.
Depay drilled just over with a vicious dipping effort shortly before he was replaced by Maxwel Cornet midway through the second half and neat work from the substitute appeared to have conjured an equaliser.
Cornet's low cross from the right was parried by Enyeama to the edge of the six-yard box but Valbuena somehow failed to convert as he fired over via the crossbar with the goal vacant.
The France midfielder then compounded his misery by conceding a penalty for bringing down Sebastien Corchia, with Benzia tucking away his second of the contest 10 minutes from time.
Lyon received a lifeline when Adama Soumaoro upended Lacazette in the box to allow the striker to pull a goal back with four minutes remaining, and Lille were fortunate to hang on as Lacazette then flashed another effort inches wide of the post a minute later.
Reigning champion Paris Saint-Germain welcome leaders Monaco to the Parc des Princes for a crucial title showdown on Sunday.
However, Nice could regain first place prior to that when they host sixth-placed Guingamp.
On Friday, Marseille halted a run of back-to-back defeats as Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed a hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition of Montpellier on Patrice Evra's debut after his departure from Juventus.
© 2017 AFP