Darder scores as Lyon beats Toulouse 3-0 in French league

PARIS (AP) Sergi Darder scored his first goal in the French league as Lyon beat Toulouse 3-0 on Friday to revive its stuttering campaign.

Three days after a 3-1 defeat at Zenit Saint-Petersburg that all but ended Lyon’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League, Hubert Fournier’s side bounced back with only its fifth win in all competitions this season.

Spanish midfielder Darder, who joined during the offseason from Malaga for a reported fee of 12 million euros, put the hosts ahead in the 18th minute from Mathieu Valbuena’s assist following a nice collective move. Darder connected with Valbuena’s cross in the box, controlled the ball with his chest and slotted home with a simple finish.

Toulouse, which has failed to win its past 10 league matches and sits just three points above the relegation zone, had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute after Martin Braithwaite scored from an offside position. The Denmark international had another good chance in the 67th minute but saw his effort saved on the line by defender Samuel Umtiti.

Valbuena also scored his first goal for Lyon to make it 2-0 two minutes with a powerful strike from the edge of the box that left keeper Ali Ahamada stranded and substitute Maxwell Cornet, also bagging his maiden goal for Lyon, added more luster to the win in added time.

Lyon, who has been hampered by injuries since the start of the season, cut its deficit to leader Paris Saint-Germain to seven points and climbed to fourth place in the standings.

”We’ve went through difficult days, because Lyon needs to deliver good results,” Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons said. ”We are programmed to win. When things don’t go well, we have to question ourselves. That’s what we did tonight, we deserve our win.”

Earlier, goals from Yacine Bammou and Adrien Thomasson helped Nantes to a 2-0 win at Caen for its third straight victory.

The win ended Caen’s run of three consecutive wins and lifted Nantes to eighth place, 10 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

Third-place Caen missed the chance to move within two points of PSG, which hosts Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Bammou opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a shot from the edge of the box after making the most of a good build-up from Johan Audel and Emiliano Sala.

Caen had several chances after the interval but conceded against the run of the play when Thomasson connected with a cross from Wilried Moimbe at the hour mark.