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Improving Lyon wins at Lorient without top scorer Lacazette

Lyon Orel Mangala - The Canadian Press

PARIS (AP) — Lens continued its push for a Champions League spot next season by ending second-place Brest's unbeaten run with a 1-0 home win in the French league on Saturday.

Ruben Aguilar headed home in the 32nd minute after midfielder David Pereira da Costa's cross bounced back off the post.

Lens moved up to fourth place and level on points with Monaco in third. Monaco can move one point behind Brest if it wins at Strasbourg on Sunday.

Brest was unbeaten in 13 league games since losing at Monaco on Nov. 5. The visitors came close to equalizing in the second half, when Hugo Magnetti had a shot saved by France goalkeeper Brice Samba and Uruguay forward Martín Satriano hit the post.

Lens played in the Champions League this year for the first time since 2002 and is gaining momentum for a return. Brest has never qualified for Europe’s elite competition and never finished higher than eighth in the French top flight.

Earlier Saturday, improving Lyon dominated even without top scorer Alexandre Lacazette and won 2-0 at Lorient for a fifth victory in the last six league games.

Lacazette has 12 league goals this season but the skillful former Arsenal forward is nursing a minor thigh injury. He was replaced in attack by 18-year-old Belgian striker Malick Fofana.

Lorient goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo made three first-half saves to keep the Brittany side in the game.

He was powerless to keep out the opening goal in the 52nd minute, when Argentina's World Cup-winning left back Nicolás Tagliafico met a cross from the right with a diving header.

Mvogo was beaten again in the 65th when forward Mama Baldé scored a fine goal, cutting in from the right and finishing with his left foot after latching onto midfielder Maxence Caqueret's pass. The win moved Lyon up one place to 10th.

Runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain can move 12 points clear of Brest if it beats Reims at home on Sunday, with league top scorer Kylian Mbappé looking to add to his 21 goals.


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