Benzia brace knocks back OL
Olympique Lyonnais youth academy graduate Yassine Benzia came back to haunt his former club with a brace that gave LOSC Lille a 2-1 victory at Parc OL on Saturday.
Olympique Lyonnais 1-2 LOSC
With January signing Memphis Depay making his first start for OL, the hosts were optimistic of maintaining their hold on fourth place, particuarly as Lille arrived having drawn their previous three games and having won just one of their last ten away matches in the top flight.
The new addition from Manchester United almost broke the deadlock when he smashed a shot off the bar (9') before winning a free-kick Mathieu Valbuena sent narrowly over (14') as OL seemed to be laying the platform for a fourth successive home win.
That was without counting on Benzia. The LOSC forward, who made his Ligue 1 debut in the colours of OL aged just 17 during the 2012/13 season, first provided Eric Bauthéac with a chance he should not have missed (27') before taking matters into his own hands.
Younousse Sankharé picked out the run of his team-mate, and Benzia's low shot took a ricochet off Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa en route to goal, wrongfooting Anthony Lopes to open the scoring (38'). It was Benzia's first league strike in 24 shots this season, and the first time he had hit the back of the net since 10 January last year.
A Rafael header tipped over by Vincent Enyeama (50') and a Depay curler that bent just wide of the far post (53') suggested Lyon were very much still in the game. Corentin Tolisso should even have equalised, but somehow failed to connect with Rafael's cross (58').
Valbuena then struck the bar with Enyeama grounded and the goal gaping (71'), and was also the culprit when Sébastien Corchia was bundled over in the box (79') and Benzia smashed home from the spot (80').
Alexandre Lacazette scored his 18th of the season, and his seventh strike in a red-hot streak over five league games, from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Adama Soumaoro (86'), but could not prevent OL suffering a damaging defeat in their pursuit of a top-three finish.
THE PLAYER: Yassine Benzia
There is nothing like coming up against your former club to inspire a player.
THE STAT: 2
Lyon have won just two of their last ten meetings with LOSC Lille in Ligue 1, losing four times in that series.