May 7, 2024

Lyon win seven-goal thriller to damage Lille Champions League hopes

Lyon win seven-goal thriller to damage Lille Champions League hopes

Mama Balde scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Lyon produced a stunning comeback to beat Lille 4-3 away in Ligue 1 on Monday and damage their opponents’ hopes of Champions League qualification in the process.

Lille were 2-0 ahead at the break before being pegged back to 2-2, but looked to have wrapped up the points when Bafode Diakite headed in his second goal of the match with five minutes left.

However, Alexandre Lacazette pulled Lyon level again before Balde headed in Clinton Mata’s cross two minutes into injury time.

It is Lille’s first home defeat since September and one that prevents them from climbing up to third place in the table.

The northern side remain fourth with two games of the season remaining, two points behind Brest in third, and four ahead of fifth-placed Nice, who have a game in hand.

The top three qualify automatically for next season’s expanded Champions League, with the team finishing fourth entering in the preliminary rounds and fifth place going into the Europa League.

Lille’s defeat also leaves Monaco on the brink of guaranteeing a top-three spot as they sit second with a six-point lead over Paulo Fonseca’s team, and only six points left to play for.

Lyon, meanwhile, reclaim seventh spot, which will be enough to qualify for next season’s Conference League if champions Paris Saint-Germain win the French Cup — PSG face Lyon in the final in Lille later this month.

Pierre Sage’s team, who have had a stunning turnaround from being bottom in mid-December, are also just two points behind Lens in sixth.

The match was a rare Monday kick-off in Ligue 1 due to games being outlawed in France on May 5, the date of the Furiani disaster in Corsica in 1992, when 18 people died and thousands were injured in the collapse of a temporary stand before the French Cup semi-final between Bastia and Marseille.

Diakite headed Lille in front midway through the first half and Edon Zhegrova, who had come on as a substitute, fired in their second before the break.

However, Lacazette set up Said Benrahma to pull one back for Lyon midway through the second half, and Balde’s low centre was turned in by Malick Fofana to level the scores eight minutes from time.

Diakite headed in at a corner to make it 3-2 for Lille, only for Lacazette to make it 3-3, turning in a cross from close range, before Guinea-Bissau forward Balde won it for Lyon.