Depay scores 2 to send Lyon into 1st place in French league
PARIS (AP) — Memphis Depay scored twice as Lyon swept aside Strasbourg 3-0 to move on top of the French league on Saturday while title rivals Lille and Paris Saint-Germain rested.
Depay, who was close to joining Barcelona last summer, is leading Lyon’s title charge with 13 league goals. Only PSG striker Kylian Mbappe has more with 15, while Depay’s strike partner, Karl Toko Ekambi, moved on to 11.
Strasbourg’s hopes were quickly dented when midfielder Adrien Thomasson was sent off after 15 minutes for contesting his yellow card with the referee and getting a second one.
Soon after, Lyon took the lead when Houssem Aouar won the ball in midfield and sent Depay through for a typically confident finish.
Toko Ekambi made it 2-0 in the 29th with a neat clip over goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima after being found in the penalty area by midfielder Thiago Mendes. Depay sealed it with a free kick midway through the second half.
“We needed this fourth straight win to pressure our rivals,” Lyon coach Rudi Garcia said. “Our goals included a magnificent free kick from a player who was practising them well in training.”
Also, fifth-placed Rennes drew at sixth-placed Lens 0-0.
Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis made a remarkable treble save from close range late in the first half.
Lorient continued its remarkable run of form by beating Reims 1-0 at home to make it 10 points from the last four games.
After scoring and setting up the winner in last weekend’s dramatic 3-2 home win against Paris Saint-Germain, midfielder Laurent Abergel netted in the 52nd.
Seemingly doomed to relegation before the winter break, Lorient was out of the drop zone and up to 17th place.
Defending champion PSG is sweating on the fitness of Neymar ahead of its trip to bitter rival Marseille.
He missed Saturday training because of gastroenteritis, and PSG will decide on Sunday if he can travel south.
Marseille beat PSG 1-0 in Paris in September, in a match in which Neymar was among five players sent off.
Tensions are running high at Marseille, with coach Andre Villas-Boas resigning this week just days after a mob of angry fans stormed the training ground and damaged property.
To prevent further incidents at Stade Velodrome, the city will deploy 400 police officers around the stadium and ensure players are protected leaving their homes.
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