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Lacazette hits four to inspire Lyon and overtake Mbappe

Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after winning against Montpellier. Photo: Olivier Chassignole /AFP

Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty with the last kick of the match for his fourth goal as Lyon fought back from three goals down to beat Montpellier 5-4 in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

The former Arsenal forward’s goals moved him to the top of the scorers’ list on 24 goals in his first season back in Ligue 1, one ahead of Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain who face Troyes later on Sunday. 

In an extraordinary game, Elye Wahi also scored four goals for the visitors, who led 4-1 after 55 minutes.

Lyon made the most of slips the day before by Lille and Rennes, the teams above them, to lift themselves into the European picture.

The 31-year-old Lacazette, who returned to Lyon last summer after five seasons with Arsenal, headed the home team ahead in the 30 minutes.

But Lyon handed Montpellier the advantage with 15 minutes of chaotic defending.  

Wahi profited from two errors in a minute by midfielder Johann Lepenant and a foul by Dejan Lovren which yielded a penalty before pouncing on another error to chip the ball over goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and run on to put Montpellier 4-1 ahead.

Lacazette started the fightback in the 59th minute, running onto Bradley Barcola’s cross to score.  

Lovren headed a goal in the 70th minute and Lacazette equalised from another Barcola cross in the 82nd minute.

Nine minutes into added time Lyon’s last chance seemed to have gone when Barcola blazed over. With time up, referee Clement Turpin reviewed the buildup and ruled that Christopher Jullien had wrestled Lacazette to the ground.

The striker drilled home the penalty to complete the comeback.

“It’s a game that sums up our season,” said Lopes. “We put ourselves in trouble, but we are lucky to have an extraordinary player in Alexandre.”

The result brought Lyon three points behind Lille who occupy fifth place which brings Europa Conference League qualification.

Earlier, Monaco pulled five points clear of Lille and eight ahead of Rennes.

Monaco started without top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder, suspended for arriving late at training but Aleksandr Golovin and Myron Boadu gave them a two-goal lead.

Substitute Abdallah Sima offered last-placed Angers hope after 64 minutes but the home team barely threatened again.

Monaco face both their pursuers before the end of the season.

Nantes continued their slide towards Ligue 2 as they lost 2-0 at home to relegation rivals Strasbourg.

‘In our hands’

Thrashed 5-1 by Toulouse in the French Cup final last Saturday, Nantes have since lost 2-0 twice in succession to take their winless league run to 11 games.

They remain 17th in the 20-team league, but this season four clubs go down as Ligue 1 will shrink to 18 clubs next season.

“I’m angry but I’m not worried,” said Nantes coach Antoine Kombouare.

After starting the day trailing Strasbourg only on goal difference the Canaries are two points behind the 16th-placed team, who are now Auxerre.

Habib Diallo put Strasbourg ahead with a penalty and Habib Diarra scored their second.

“We’re not good, but 16th place is just two points away. It’s in our hands,” said Kombouare. 

On Saturday, Lens wrested second place off Marseille with a 2-1 home victory and are three points behind leaders PSG.

PSG have experienced a turbulent week after fans protested following their home loss to Lorient and the club then suspended Lionel Messi after an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

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