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Lyon drops points in race for Champions League qualification

March 9, 2019

PARIS (AP) — Lyon dropped vital points in the race to qualify automatically for the Champions League, throwing away a 2-0 lead in drawing at Strasbourg 2-2 in the French league on Saturday.

Lyon looked in total control at 2-0 before poor defending allowed two goals within a minute. It could prove costly. The draw left third-placed Lyon four points behind second-placed Lille, which plays at fifth-placed Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

The teams have 10 matches remaining after this weekend.

Lyon striker Moussa Dembele got his second of the game from the penalty spot early in the second half, with defender Lamine Kone at fault on both goals.

But Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajorque pulled one back in the 69th minute with a header that scuffed off his shoulder and rolled past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who misjudged the flight. Following the restart, Lyon midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop carelessly lost the ball, allowing Strasbourg to set up Ajorque for the equalizer.

Lyon forwards Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay and central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele were on the bench, rested with a view to Wednesday’s last-16 return leg at Barcelona in the Champions League. Lyon drew the home leg 0-0 .

Strasbourg gifted Lyon the opener after three minutes when Kone’s poor back pass was intercepted by forward Martin Terrier. His curling shot was well saved and, after Maxwell Cornet’s effort was also stopped, Dembele tapped home.

After Kone clumsily gave away a penalty, Dembele slotted in his 11th league goal in 23 games since joining from Scottish champion Celtic.

OTHER MATCHES

Radamel Falcao got Monaco’s opening goal and gave away Bordeaux’s penalty in a 1-1 home draw.

The Colombia striker scored with a fine header in the 48th minute — his 12th league goal — but handballed from a corner and forward Jimmy Briand equalized for Bordeaux in the 65th.

Monaco dropped to 17th place, after Amiens beat Nimes 2-1 at home to leapfrog 2017 French champion Monaco into 16th.

Also, Dijon recovered from defender Senou Coulibaly’s third-minute red card to draw with sixth-place Reims 1-1.

Runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain’s match at Nantes was postponed, with police resources stretched due to a 17th straight weekend of anti-government protests from the widespread yellow vest movement .

PSG is reeling from Wednesday’s injury-time elimination by Manchester United in the Champions League, losing 3-1 at home after winning 2-0 away.

On Sunday, striker Mario Balotelli faces his old teammates when Marseille plays Nice.

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