Lacazette’s solitary strike helps Lyon claim slender win over Reims

Lyon's striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring a goal during the Ligue 1 soccer match between Olympique Lyonnais and Reims at the Gerland Stadium in Lyon.


Alexandre Lacazette scored his first league goal from open play since April as Lyon claimed a slender 1-0 win over Reims.

Lacazette’s solitary strike on 44 minutes proved enough for the hosts to see off Olivier Guegan’s side, who have made an impressive start to the season, losing just once before Saturday. The France international also missed a first-half penalty, his second failure of the season from 12 yards, as his powerful effort came back off the crossbar.

Despite being forced to make an early change when influential defender Milan Bisevac picked up an injury, Lyon dominated the first half and looked like getting reward for their efforts when Jaba Kankava handled inside the area. Lacazette took his trademark shortened run-up but, like in their Champions League clash with Gent, last season’s top scorer failed to find the target with his spot-kick on 41 minutes.

However, Lyon’s much-coveted striker did not have to wait much longer to make the breakthrough, and after playing a neat one-two with Claude Beauvue just outside the area, his effort from 18 yards sneaked in the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection, prompting emotional celebrations. The hosts continued to dominate after the restart and Beauvue was millimetres away from adding a second on 56 minutes when his header from Mathieu Valbuena’s corner came back off the bar.

Lacazette thought he had doubled his tally for the evening midway through the second half when he latched on to Steed Malbranque’s pass before finishing but the linesman’s flag denied him a second. Reims almost stole a point very late on but a magnificent save from Anthony Lopes in the hosts’ goal denied Prince Oniangue on the half-volley.

Angers 1, Bastia 0

Angers backed up their impressive defeat of Marseille last weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bastia to continue their surprising start to the Ligue 1 season.

Despite a quiet opening 40 minutes it was the hosts who grabbed the initiative when Yoann Andreu and Cheikh N’Doye combined to tee up Billy Ketkeophomphone who confidently sent a first-time effort beyond Jean-Louis Leca. And the hosts should have been two up at the break when Mehdi Mostefa gave away a penalty on 43 minutes but Abdoul Camara’s poor spot-kick was gathered by Leca.

Angers could easily have added further goals in the second half but Fode Dore headed agonisingly wide of Leca’s goal while the visiting keeper did well to turn Olivier Auriac’s fierce drive around the post.

Troyes 0, Guingamp 1

Ten-man Troyes’ winless start to the season continued as they went down to a late Younousse Sankhare goal in a 1-0 defeat to in-form Guingamp.

The hosts wasted the best chance of an uninspiring first half when Yoann Court’s shot came back off the right post after Benjamin Nivet’s good work set up the opportunity. The second half produced little more in the way of goalmouth action and, when Sankhare appeared to score with his hand following Franck Hery’s acrobatic effort, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the forlorn hosts.

And their misery was compounded with five minutes left to play when Thomas Ayasse was harshly shown a yellow card for a foul on Lionel Mathis.

Ajaccio 2, Toulouse 2

Gazelec Ajaccio continued their winless start to life in Ligue 1 after they were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow early-season strugglers Toulouse.

Toulouse got a foothold early on when Martin Braithwaite’s emphatic finish left Clement Maury with little chance before the hosts levelled just a few minutes later, Kevin Mayi heading Issiaga Sylla’s pinpoint delivery beyond Ali Ahamada at the near post. And, just before the interval, Ajaccio turned the game on its head when Gregory Pujol bundled Mayi’s delivery home to send the hosts into the break with a single goal lead.

Provider of Ajaccio’s first goal, Sylla’s evening took a turn for the worse when he deflected Braithwaite’s shot into his own goal just after the interval to gift Toulouse a share of the spoils.

Nice 2, Nantes 2

The Ligue 1 clash between Nice and Nantes was abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch, with the score at 2-2.

Torrential rain meant referee Fredy Fautrel had little choice but to bring the game to a premature end with the downpour continuing, despite an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

Jules Iloki had given the visitors an early lead before Valerie Germain restored parity, scoring twice in the space of 16 minutes to hand Nice the lead.

Adrien Thomasson’s close-range header on 40 minutes drew Les Canaris back level before the elements brought a premature end to an engrossing encounter.