Olympique Lyonnais beat FC Metz 2-0 at the Stade Saint-Symphorien - thanks to Moussa Dembélé's controversial penalty and Houssem Aouar's late goal on the counter - to pull into a provisional sixth in the Ligue 1 Conforama table.
FC Metz 0-2 Olympique Lyonnais
Lyon have been spluttering this season and came into this game in 11th having failed to win any of their previous four league games. Rudi Garcia's men started brightly, though, and Jason Denayer was only an Alexandre Oukidja save away from volleying home his first goal of the season after getting the break of the ball from Martin Terrier's corner (12'). Bruno Guimares - making his first start in the OL midfield following his winter arrival from Athletico Paranaense - then slipped Karl Toko Ekambi through on goal, but the Villarreal-owned forward's shot was blocked by Metz left-back Matthieu Udol (19'). Toko Ekambi nearly turned provider for Terrier soon after, but his fellow attacker was stopped at the last by Dylan Bronn (28'). Oukidja scrambled to keep Maxwel Cornet's first-time shot out of his bottom corner late in the half (44') but there was still time for penalty drama. Udol handled in the box and Cornet missed the subsequent penalty (45+6'). Referee Eric Wattellier ordered a retake, though, and Dembélé stepped up instead, stroking home his 14th goal of the season for 1-0 (45'+8).
Lyon see it out
Neither coach made any changes at the interval and Lyon picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, in the ascendancy. Cornet breached the Metz offside trap before crossing for Toko Ekambi, but there was just too much on the delivery for KTE - as he is affectionately known by his teammates - to connect (58'). Terrier then thought he had made it 2-0 but his effort was ruled out with Toko Ekambi adjudged to have been offside in the build-up (67'). Guimaraes then played Toko Ekambi through just as he had done in the first half, but this time the Cameroon international's shot was well blocked by Oukidja at the near post (73'). Metz went in search for an equaliser in the dying embers but their frustration spilled over when captain Habib Diallo was sent off for lashing out at Marçal (82') and Aouar then added insult to injury, tapping home to cap off a counter-attack after Oukidja had come up for a late corner (90'+4).
THE PLAYER: Moussa Dembélé
Dembélé may not have had his best game in a Lyon jersey, but with Juventus lying in wait in the UEFA Champions League last 16 on Wednesday and Memphis Depay leading a lengthy list of injuries, he had to step up when it mattered on Friday, and step up he did. The former Celtic man showed nerves of steel to convert when he was not the first choice to take the penalty, and with the home fans making their feelings known behind the home goal.
THE STAT: 7
Lyon have won each of their last seven matches against Metz in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet each time. The last time Metz got the better of OL was back in August 2014 when Yeni Ngbakoto and Juan Falcon scored to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette's opener in a 2-1 win at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.
OGC Nice 2-2 Stade Brestois 29
There was no separating OGC Nice and Stade Brestois 29 at the Allianz Riviera on Friday evening, the pair sharing the points with a 2-2 draw.
Nice started well against the side whom they began the day three points and four places better off than, and pulled into the lead midway through the first half when Adam Ounas diverted Kasper Dolberg's strike beyond Gautier Larsonneur in the visiting goal. Ounas then turned provider for Dolberg to lash home his ninth goal of the season before Samuel Grandsir reduced the arrears on the stroke of half-time.
Grandsir then helped get his side back on level terms soon after the restart, his cross ending up in the Nice goal via the unfortunate Dante. Nice finished the game in the ascendancy with Pierre Lees-Melou finding Dante with a cross which nothing came of before going for goal himself, only to see Larsonneur save, and Patrick Vieira's side had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Both in mid-table, Nice and Brest have at least both only lost one of their last seven games.