Lille held to draw by Toulouse in French league, Clermont wins duel of strugglers
PARIS (AP) — Nearly six months after its last victory, seven-time champion Lyon finally got back to winning ways in the French league by beating 10-man Rennes 1-0 on Sunday.
That ended a 10-game winless run this season in the league for Lyon, whose previous win dated back last term to May 27, a 3-0 defeat of Reims.
“It’s a big release. We’ve been waiting for this win for a long time," Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso said.
Irish center back Jake O’Brien scored from close range with a header following a corner in the 62nd minute in the Brittany city to secure a morale-boosting win.
“I feel very proud, and I’d like to thank the fans who made the trip," said O'Brien, who joined Lyon during the offseason. "We’ll be able to build on this victory for the future. We approach every game as if it were our last, and we’ve been unlucky in the last few games.”
Despite the win, Lyon remains at the bottom of the standings with just seven points from 11 games.
The goal was a rare moment of quality in a poor game that featured the early dismissal of Rennes defender Guela Doue after just six minutes for a late tackle on Nicolas Tagliafico.
Lyon did not take advantage of the situation and struggled to create chances until O'Brien broke the deadlock from Saël Kumbedi's cross following a corner.
The prospect of relegation still remains for Lyon, a storied club known for its record run of seven straight league titles from 2002 to 2008. The last time Lyon played in the second division was during the 1988-89 season.
The defeat extended 13th-place Rennes' own winless run to five matches.
TOULOUSE HOLDS LILLE
Lille was held to a 1-1 home draw by Toulouse after hitting the woodwork twice.
Lille extended its unbeaten run to six matches but missed the chance to reduce the gap with its rivals in the fight for Champions League places.
The result moved the northern side to fourth in the standings. It's four points behind Monaco which drew 0-0 with Le Havre on Saturday, when PSG moved to the top of the league with a 3-0 win at Reims after Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick.
Leny Yoro put Lille ahead in the first half with a header from Edon Zhegrova following a corner. Toulouse’s equalizer also came from a set piece when Thijs Dallinga headed the ball home into the top left corner near the hour mark.
The hosts pushed hard in the closing stages and their efforts came close to being rewarded. First, in the 82nd minute when Remy Cabella hit the left post, then eight minutes later as Tiago Santos’s shot took a slight deflection onto the crossbar.
After two straight league losses it has been a much better week for Toulouse, which beat Liverpool 3-2 midweek in a Europa League game.
LENS BEATS MARSEILLE
Last season's runner-up Lens continued its recovery with a 1-0 win over Marseille. The result extended the hosts' unbeaten run to seven matches after four losses in their five opening matches.
After a close contest with few chances, the teams looked set for a draw but defender Jonathan Gradit struck with an injury-time header. Lens moved to sixth place, three points above 10th-place Marseille.
NICHOLSON SPOT ON
A penalty from Shamar Nicholson was enough to secure three important points for Lorient in its duel with fellow struggler Lorient.
After a VAR decision following a foul in the box, Nicholson converted from the spot with a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner in the 68th minute for his first goal in the French league.
Clermont remained in 17th place, two points behind Lorient, which has won just one of its past nine matches.
Also, Metz defeated Nantes 3-1.
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