Lyon drops more points in draw with Lille in Ligue 1

Lyon's Mouctar Diakhaby, Lyon's Bertrand Traore and Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin challenge for the ball during a Group E Europa League match between Everton F.C. and Olympique Lyon at Goodison Park Stadium, Liverpool, England, Thursday Oct. 19, 2017. (Dave Thompson/AP)

PARIS — With top scorer Nabil Fekir starting on the bench, Bertrand Traore scored twice for fourth-placed Lyon in a 2-2 draw at Lille in the French league on Sunday.

The Burkina Faso winger put Lyon 2-0 up at halftime, taking his season’s league tally to six since joining from Premier League Chelsea this season. Traore caused Lille problems with his pace and skill before Lyon’s poor defence once again let the team down.

Striker Nicolas Pepe scored midway through the second half and 17th-placed Lille equalized in the 81st minute through Brazilian forward Luiz Araujo’s powerful low strike from 25 metres out, following a well-worked corner.

Since beating league leader Paris Saint-Germain with a high-octane performance on Jan. 21, Lyon has conceded 10 goals in a dismal run of three defeats and a draw. In one of those losses — at defending champion Monaco — Lyon was also 2-0 up in the first half and lost 3-2 to 10 men.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio criticized the attitude of his players.

"We’re not humble enough for the highest level. I told my players what I think, to their faces. It will remain between us," he said. "Football is a team sport played by players who don’t always play for the team."

Fekir, who has 16 league goals, came off the bench late on and saw striker Mariano Diaz hit the post near the end.

The draw further dented Lyon’s hopes of finishing in the top three and reaching next season’s Champions League. Genesio’s side is three points behind Marseille — which hosted Bordeaux later Sunday — and seven adrift of second-placed Monaco.

Earlier, Mario Balotelli was kept largely quiet as inconsistent Nice drew 1-1 at home to fifth-placed Nantes.

Balotelli is Nice’s top scorer with 13 league goals, but the Italian striker was not at his sharpest against a team shrewdly coached by countryman Claudio Ranieri.

A rare goal from veteran Brazilian centre half Dante gave Nice an early lead. Emiliano Sala replied for Nantes in the 27th minute, but then headed wide from a corner in the fourth minute of injury time.

Nantes remains one point ahead of sixth-placed Montpellier, while Nice — an impressive third last season — is in ninth spot. Nice has done well in spells, but has lost 11 games out of 26 and relies too heavily on Balotelli in attack.

He was involved in Dante’s opener after five minutes, when his snapshot from just inside the right of the penalty area led to a corner.

Nantes cleared it, but not well enough and Nice regained possession immediately. Following a cross from the right, the ball bounced off a Nantes defender and fell to Dante, who gleefully swept it home from close range for his first league goal since joining last season.

Sala equalized when he sent goalkeeper Walter Benitez the wrong way from the spot, after defender Patrick Burner clumsily gave away a penalty. Sala has 11 league goals so far — one fewer than all last season with Nantes.

PSG beat Strasbourg 5-2 on Saturday to remain 12 points clear of Monaco, which won 4-0 against visitors Dijon on Friday.


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