Football

Lyon's slip opens door for PSG and Lille in tussle at the top of Ligue 1

Layvin Kurzawa scored Paris Saint-Germain's winner at Angers which allowed the French champions to regain pole position in Ligue 1.
Layvin Kurzawa scored Paris Saint-Germain's winner at Angers which allowed the French champions to regain pole position in Ligue 1. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER AFP
3 min

The Ligue 1 table in France had a deceptively familiar appearance on the third Monday morning in January with Paris Saint-Germain leading the way.

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The club from the capital have looked down on the rest of the division from the same spot since 2018.

They went top after edging past Angers 1-0 on Saturday night at the Stade Raymond Kopa.

Despite the deployment of 500 million euros worth of attacking guile in the shape of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria, it was defender Layvin Kurzawa who made the breakthrough 20 minutes from time to secure the three points.

Usually, PSG though are comfortably clear of the pack. But 20 games into the 2020/2021 season and after changing coach, they are in a dogfight. PSG lead only on goal difference.

Lille also boast 42 points from their 20 games following their 2-1 victory over Reims while third-placed Lyon have 40.

Title race

Monaco, who are fourth, are not far off the pace with 36 points.

And should Marseille win their two games in hand, they will be only four points behind the leaders.

Lyon went into the 20th round of games in top spot. But Rudi Garcia’s men faltered surprisingly at home to Metz on Sunday night.

Substitute Aaron Leya Iseka scored the only goal of the game at the Groupama Stadium a minute into second-half stoppage time to inflict a first defeat on Lyon since they went down to Montpellier on 15 September.

“It's a defeat with a bitter taste because it isn’t deserved given what we produced,” said Garcia whose side had a goal ruled out for offside.

“I thought we had learned that when we can't win, we have to play to take at least one point, but we didn't know how to do it.”

Derby

A draw, though psychologically less damaging, would still have left Lyon in third position.

“We’ve dropped two places," added Garcia. "It's huge and we must quickly rectify the situation and concentrate on the derby against Saint-Etienne on Sunday. We'll have to get back to winning ways this weekend.”

On paper, victory against their local rivals should be a given. Saint-Etienne, after starting the season strongly, have slid down the table and sit 16th only four points above 18th place which leads to a relegation play-off tie against the third-placed team from Ligue 2.

Both PSG and Lille play before Lyon take on Saint-Etienne. 

PSG entertain Montpellier at the Parc des Princes on Friday night while Lille face a tricky trip to fifth-placed Rennes on Sunday afternoon.

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