Lyon moves to 2nd with 2-1 win at Caen in French league

PARIS (AP) Lyon withstood a late onslaught from Caen and moved to second place in the French league with a 2-1 win at the Normandy side on Sunday.

Maxwel Cornet and Mariano Diaz scored for the seven-time champions, who bounced back from a midweek home loss to Lille with a hard-fought victory.

Lyon trails leader Paris Saint-Germain by nine points, and has scored 17 goals and conceded just one in its last four away matches.

Cornet put the hosts ahead in the 10th minute from close range at the end of a fine team move, following a mix-up in the box. Diaz made it 2-0 with his 12th goal this season after Ronny Rodelin gave the ball away outside his own penalty area. Memphis Depay intercepted the ball and Diaz volleyed home from the edge of the box in the 54th.

The goal ignited a strong response from Caen, which hit the post in the second half and pulled one back through Ivan Santini in the 90th. The Croatia striker dribbled past two Caen players and fired home at the near post with a low shot.

Caen laid siege to the Lyon goal in stoppage time and substitute Jordan Nkololo almost grabbed an equalizer but saw his right-footed shot go inches wide.

SAINT-ETIENNE HELD

Saint-Etienne failed to win for a seventh straight French league game as the 10-time champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Nantes on Sunday, despite a superb goal from Vincent Pajot.

Chasing a first win since October, Saint-Etienne struggled to string passes together in the first half and broke the deadlock against the run of play when Pajot fired a 30-meter (yard) strike into the top left corner.

The game was played in a partly closed stadium following incidents that marred Saint-Etienne’s defeat to rival Lyon last month.

Nantes continued its dominance after the interval and tested Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier several times. Emiliano Sala scored a lucky but deserved equalizer in the 61st minute for his fifth goal this season when Leo Lacroix’s attempted clearance ricocheted off his leg and head before crossing the line as Ruffier watched powerless.

Nantes pushed hard in the closing stages but substitutes Santy Ngom and Lucas Lima had their efforts saved by Ruffier.

Nantes has not won in Saint-Etienne in 17 years and remained fifth in the standings, 14 points behind leader PSG.

Saint-Etienne is four points above the relegation zone.