Lyon wastes chance to go 2nd after 1-1 draw with Angers


PARIS — Lyon wasted a chance to move up to second place in the French league after being held to a 1-1 home draw by relegation-threatened Angers on Sunday.

Lyon needed an equalizer from top scorer Nabil Fekir to get back into the game. But by the end, Angers was hanging on after having midfielder Flavien Tait sent off in the 84th minute for a second yellow card.

Lyon failed to capitalize and remains in third place. It is level on points with second-place Monaco — which has a better goal difference — and one ahead of Marseille in fourth. It was a precious point for Angers, moving it up to 18th — the relegation playoff spot — and pushing Toulouse to 19th.

Lyon fell behind to striker Karl Toko Ekambi’s relaxed penalty kick in the 14th minute. He jogged up casually with a staggered run-up, and stroked the ball to the left as goalkeeper Anthony Lopes guessed the wrong way.

Toko Ekambi has 10 league goals and, given that he is playing for a struggling team, his performances have caught the eye. He has been linked with a move to the Premier League in this month’s transfer window, which could damage Angers’ chances of staying up.

Two minutes after the break, Fekir opened up the defense with a superb piece of skill — dragging the ball back and then flicking it through the legs of a defender. The ball rolled toward forward Maxwell Cornet but, as he prepared to shoot, Fekir sprinted alongside him and drilled it into the bottom corner.

It was Fekir’s 14th league goal of the season in a career-best tally with 18 games left. He is expected to leave Lyon for a big-money move to a top club in the summer.

Toko Ekambi almost put his side back in front shortly after Fekir’s goal, sprinting clear only to clip the ball wide of the post on his weaker left foot.

Netherlands forward Memphis Depay’s shot was cleared off the line and midfielder Houssem Aouar went close with a header from Fekir’s cross as Lyon pushed for a winner.

Later Sunday, league leader Paris Saint-Germain visited fifth-place Nantes.

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MOVING CLEAR

Saint-Etienne moved away from the relegation zone after beating fellow struggler Toulouse 2-0.

Slovenia striker Robert Beric scored his first goal of the season from the penalty spot moments before halftime. Senegalese midfielder Assane Diousse got his first for the club when he sealed the win in the 86th minute.

Saint-Etienne moved up to 14th place. Toulouse is 19th and the pressure is increasing on coach Pascal Dupraz.



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