Week 28 Review: Title contenders all enjoy big wins
By A. Scott
Olympique Lyonnais held on to first place in the Ligue 1 table thanks to a stunning win in Montpellier on an extraordinary weekend featuring 36 goals.
Lyon put a run of just one win in five outings in February behind them to come from behind and crush Montpellier Hérault SC 5-1 at the Stade de la Mosson. The home side had been in the better form coming into the game and Lucas Barrios gave them the lead with his eighth goal in his last 10 Ligue 1 games. However, Alexandre Lacazette levelled from the penalty spot after Nabil Fekir had been brought down, and Fekir scored a brace to put the visitors in control.
That was far from the end of the drama, though, with Barrios having a penalty saved by Anthony Lopes before Corentin Tolisso added another goal for Lyon and Lacazette got his second of the night to take him to 23 for the campaign as Lyon beat Montpellier 5-1 for the second time this season.
Lyon coach Hubert Fournier said that his side had "learned the lesson" of their 2-1 defeat at Lille a week earlier and praised Fekir for another decisive contribution in what has been a remarkable breakthrough season.
"The six months that Fekir has just had are an accelerated apprenticeship of the very top level. It has been difficult for him to take it all in but we have to acknowledge that tonight Nabil looked liberated and that helped us win the match," said Fournier.
PSG ease past Lens
Lyon are still one point clear of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, who warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Chelsea by easing to a 4-1 home win against RC Lens to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions. David Luiz put PSG in front and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a penalty, with substitutes Blaise Matuidi and Javier Pastore making sure of the win after Yoann Touzghar had pulled a goal back.
"I hope we take more of our chances against Chelsea," warned coach Laurent Blanc, who was not completely satisfied despite the comfortable win. "I don't think we were clinical enough. We could have done better in that department."
Rare away success for OM
The biggest winners of the weekend were Olympique de Marseille, who ended a run of four games without a win by thumping Toulouse FC 6-1 to claim their first away victory in five months. In-form Michy Batshuayi scored a brace, while Baptiste Aloé, André Ayew and André-Pierre Gignac also scored and Jacques François Moubandjé put through his own net, with Wissam Ben Yedder netting for the hapless hosts.
"This is not a message for Lyon or Paris. It is above all important for us," said OM coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose side are third, four points off top spot. "To score so many goals will give us confidence."
AS Monaco in fourth remain six points behind Marseille with a game in hand after winning 3-1 at Evian-Thonon-Gaillard FC. Anthony Martial put Monaco ahead and Kassim Abdallah scored an own-goal before youngster Almamy Touré netted his first professional goal. Pape Amodou Sougou got one back, but Monaco saw out the win and have now lost just once in 12 in Ligue 1.
Beneath them, AS Saint-Etienne got a first win in eight in the league by beating FC Lorient 2-0 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with late goals by Yohan Mollo and Max-Alain Gradel after Didier Ndong had been sent off for the visitors. Meanwhile, Girondins de Bordeaux triumphed 2-1 at SM Caen as Diego Rolán netted a stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot. The Uruguayan had earlier put Bordeaux ahead only for Sloan Privat to equalise for Caen, who had Lenny Nangis sent off in the first half.
Metz slump continues
Elsewhere, EA Guingamp slumped to a third successive league defeat as Nolan Roux secured a 1-0 win for LOSC Lille in Brittany, while SC Bastia moved back into the top half by beating bitter rivals OGC Nice 2-1. Carlos Eduardo put the visitors ahead in Corsica but they had both Grégoire Puel and Souleymane Diawara sent off as Guillaume Gillet and Giovanni Sio secured the points for the hosts.
Grégory Bourillon, Aïssa Mandi and David Ngog scored as Stade de Reims defeated 10-man FC Nantes 3-1 to finally claim a first Ligue 1 win of 2015, but bottom club FC Metz are now 16 games without a victory after losing 1-0 at Stade Rennais FC, for whom Paul-Georges Ntep scored the only goal.