Lacazette gives much-needed win to Lyon in French league

PARIS (AP) Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette scored his second league goal this season to give his struggling club a much-needed 1-0 win over in-form Reims on Saturday.

Lacazette, the French league’s best goal scorer last season, missed a penalty when he hit the crossbar in the 41st minute but made amends before the interval with a low shot into the corner.

Lyon forward Claudio Beauvue also hit the crossbar in the 56th minute from a corner before Lacazette had a goal disallowed for an offside position as Lyon managed only a second win in seven matches in all competitions.

Lacazette’s goal lifted the club to fourth in the standings, level on points with Reims but with a better goal difference.

Both clubs are five points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, which hosts Marseille Sunday.

Following back to back losses against Bordeaux in the league and Valencia at home in the Champions League midweek, Lyon put on a spirited and offensive display that immediately put the visitors on the back foot.

Under heavy showers at the Stade Gerland, Hubert Fournier’s team created three good chances within the first 25 minutes before Lacazette earned a penalty as he fought for the ball with Jaba Kankava in the box. But Lacazette, who has recently confessed confidence struggles, missed the target from the spot for the second time this season.

Lacazette was clinical four minutes later, though, when his strike took a slight deflection off defender Franck Signorino and went into the back of the net to finish a swift counterattack ignited by Sergi Darder’s long ball. Lacazette celebrated his first goal from open play since last April by pretending to release an arrow from a bow before his teammates jumped on him and yelled.

”It makes me feel good, they are all behind me,” said Lacazette, who was flagged offside in the 67th minute after diverting Steed Malbranque’s shot into the net.

Keeper Anthony Lopez ensured Lyon remained within reasonable distance of PSG with a last-minute save that denied Prince Oniangue’s inspired half-volley.