OL, OM fire as Nice get hat-tricked
Memphis Depay struck a screamer as Lyon beat Villarreal 3-1; OM's Valère Germain got two in a 3-0 win over Braga; and Manuel Fernandes' hat-trick trumped Mario Balotelli's double as Nice slipped 3-2 to Lokomotiv Moscow.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
UEFA Europa League, Round of 32
Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Olympique Lyonnais 3 - 1 Villarreal CF
Lyon will head into next week's round of 32 return leg in Spain with a handy advantage - despite Pablo Fornals' 63rd-minute away goal - thanks to a sparkling second-half performance and a sublime strike from Netherlands international Memphis Depay.
Substitute Depay made the most of his opportunity with a powerful first-time strike from outside the area (82') but Lyon had already laid the groundwork for the 3-1 win by coming out and scoring two goals early on in the second half. Tanguy Ndombele scored his first goal for OL with a far-post nod-in (46') and then captain Nabil Fekir followed up with a lethal strike after Mariano Diaz was denied a superb solo strike by the visiting 'keeper (49').
The valiant win, which saw OL lift their game after a tight first half, broke a three-match losing streak in the league and has the French side on track to take another step closer to the final at their very own Groupama Stadium in May.
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Olympique de Marseille 3 - 0 SC Braga
Olympique de Marseille may have allowed themselves to be caught in a tough league match against Saint-Etienne on Sunday night, but Rudi Garcia's men were back to steamroller mode and duly handed SC Braga a 3-0 welcome to the Stade Vélodrome, taking an option on a place in the round of 16 into the bargain.
Striker Valère Germain began compiling the handy aggregate lead early on, slotting Dimitri Payet's slide-rule pass home for his first Europa League goal (4') and added another at the base of the post (69').
Florian Thauvin came on to replace Germain the next minute and quickly picked up where his colleague had left off, dazzling the visiting defence with a double one-two with Maxime Lopez before slicing a low shot past the visiting 'keeper (74').
Allianz Riviera, Nice
OGC Nice 2 - 3 FC Lokomotiv Moscow
OGC Nice find themselves in dire straits after letting a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2 a man down at home to FC Lokomotiv Moscow. Lucien Favre's men face a stiff test in next week's return leg in Russia, but found themselves in a favourable position after just 28 minutes, with Italy star Mario Balotelli striking early (4') before adding another from the spot (28', pen.).
However, Les Aiglons' game began to come undone in the second half and Manuel Fernandes proved ruthless in front of goal, first from the spot after being brought down in the area by an overwhelmed Malang Sarr (45', pen.)
Nice's Racine Coly saw red for a last-man tackle on Ari (67') and Portuguese playmaker Fernandes levelled the match (69') and then clinched his hat-trick - and a dramatic come-from-behind win - with a cool finish (77').