Fekir nets as Lyon edge Guingamp
By A. Scott
Nabil Fekir got the winner as Olympique Lyonnais ground out a 2-1 victory over EA Guingamp at the Groupama Stadium to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Olympique Lyonnais 2 - 1 EA Guingamp
Guingamp had beaten Lyon home and away last season, also winning on penalties when the sides met in the Coupe de la Ligue. And the Bretons started the better of the two sides here on a fine afternoon by the banks of the Rhône, with Marcus Thuram firing the first warning when his header from Pedro Rebocho's cross went just over.
Lucas Deaux should have scored rather than allow Anthony Lopes to save after latching onto a Jimmy Briand through ball that too easily split the home defence and Briand then sent a long-range effort just wide to the relief of the Lyon goalkeeper. Moments after that it was 1-0, with Mariano Díaz afforded the opportunity to advance with the ball after collecting possession just inside the Guingamp half of the field. With no challenge forthcoming, the former Real Madrid striker curled his shot home from the edge of the area for his fourth goal in five Ligue 1 Conforama appearances.
That goal deflated the visitors to some extent and Lyon, while far from inspired, had chances to increase their lead from dead balls. Mariano sent a free-kick just wide and saw his header from a Memphis Depay corner saved by Karl-Johan Johnsson, while the otherwise quiet Fekir saw his free-kick from fully 30 yards strike the bar after deflecting off the wall.
Thuram breaks top-flight duck
Guingamp again started the better of the two sides in the second half, though, and OL were grateful to Lopes for saves to deny Thuram and Deaux before the equaliser arrived in the 71st minute. After the home side failed to fully clear Etienne Didot's corner, Didot was allowed to cross again and this time Thuram headed home his first Ligue 1 Conforama goal.
But the Bretons were only back on level terms for two minutes as a Briand challenge on Depay turned into an assist for Fekir, who still had work to do before picking his spot past Johnsson (73'). With three wins and two draws from their opening five outings, Lyon sit third in the table ahead of a week in which they go to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in the UEFA Europa League before visiting Paris Saint-Germain.
THE PLAYER: Nabil Fekir
This was not vintage Fekir, just as it was not vintage Lyon. But the OL captain assumed his role as leader of Bruno Genesio's new-look team as he scored the winning goal just moments after Guingamp had equalised. The French international also struck the bar from a first-half free-kick and he now has four goals from five outings this season.
THE STAT: 15
Guingamp set themselves up to take a point when Marcus Thuram equalised in the 71st minute, only for Fekir to deny them the draw. Indeed, the Bretons have now gone 15 Ligue 1 Conforama games without drawing, a run that stretches back to March.