Memphis Depay, Lyon
Match Reports

Depay and Lyon brought down by Metz

Publish on 17/01/2021 at 23:25 - I. HOLYMAN

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Memphis Depay was powerless to prevent Lyon losing ground in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats title race as Aaron Leya Iseka's late goal gave Metz a surprise 1-0 win to end OL's 16-match unbeaten run on Sunday, dropping the seven-time French champions down to third place in the table behind Paris Saint-Germain and Lille.

THE MATCH

PSG and Lille had both laboured to victories earlier in the weekend to knock Lyon off top spot, but against a Metz team that had lost their last nine trips to France's second city, Rudi Garcia's men — in third place, two points off the two teams ahead of them at kick-off — were fully expected to move back into pole position.

 

Garcia resisted the temptation to throw new signing Islam Slimani into the starting XI, and saw prolific trio Karl Toko Ekambi, Tino Kadewere and Depay cause the visitors problems from the off. Kadewere didn't connect cleanly with a Lucas Paqueta cross (3') and Marcelo headed a Léo Dubois free-kick over the crossbar (18').

 

Toko Ekambi forced the first real save of the match from Metz 'keeper Alexandre Oukidja when he latched onto a Depay pass (37') before flashing a powerful drive over the crossbar (39') as the hosts sought to put the visitors on the back foot at the break.

 

It was Metz, who'd lost just one of the last seven away games, who came closest in the first half though. A Farid Boulaya cross came back off a post and Lamine Gueye saw his shot stopped by Marcelo on the OL goalline with Anthony Lopes stranded (42').

 

An excellent piece of anticipation by John Boye denied Kadewere a clear sight of goal (48'), but when full-back Thomas Delaine was forced off with injury (55'), Metz looked as if they might be vulnerable to the hosts' spectacular attack.

 

Houssem Aouar, who has been suffering with an adductor injury that kept him out of the starting XI, was also introduced (68') along with Maxwel Cornet, who saw an effort pushed onto a post by Oukidja (70'). 

 

Toko Ekambi then found the net, volleying home after Thiago Mendes' shot had ricocheted onto the bar off Oukidja's foot, but Aouar in an offside position meant VAR ruled the goal out (74').

 

Slimani, signed on an 18-month deal from Leicester City in midweek, emerged from the bench 14 minutes from time, and set up Aouar for yet another opportunity that Oukidja stopped (85'). But it was Metz who would finish the stronger.

 

Pape Sarr bent a shot off Lopes' crossbar (89') — the OL 'keeper was fortunate the ball did not rebound off his back and into the net — before Leya Iseka, who had come off the bench just after the hour mark, burst in behind the home backline, seized onto Boulaya's pass and rounded Lopes before firing home to leave Lyon stunned before next weekend's derby with Saint-Etienne.

 

THE PLAYER: Alexandre Oukidja

Without the Algeria international, Leya Iseka's goal would have been a consolation effort, not a matchwinner. Inspired throughout, fortunate at times, Oukidja was the foundation on which Metz secured a surprise victory.

 

THE STAT: 8

Lyon had won their last eight top-flight games against Metz, scoring an average of three goals in each encounter and keeping seven clean sheets in that streak.

 

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