Lacazette helps Lyon to 3-0 away win at Metz
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 06, 2017 12:02 PM
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, right, is congratulated by his coach , Bruno Genesio, after scoring his side's 4th goal during a Europa League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Lyon and Roma in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Thursday, March 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Striker Alexandre Lacazette's 24th league goal of the season helped Lyon win 3-0 at Metz on Wednesday, his team's first away victory of the year.
Midfielders Jordan Ferri and Corentin Tolisso — who made his France debut last week — capped Lyon's win with late goals. Fourth-place Lyon's last league success on its travels was a 3-1 win at leader Monaco in December. Last weekend, Lacazette missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw at Rennes.
He found his range this time, however, latching onto a fine threaded pass from midfielder Lucas Tousart and finishing confidently in the 59th minute to help Lyon secure a first away win since beating Monaco in December.
Only Edinson Cavani, with 27 league goals, has scored more than Lacazette in what is expected to be his final season in France. Several big European clubs are reported to be interested in signing the 25-year-old center forward, who is rated at more than 50 million euros ($53 million).
Lacazette is closing in on his career best mark of 27 league goals — set two seasons ago — and needs four more to reach 100.
Despite the win, Lyon remains 13 points behind third-place Nice in the quest for a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds.
"We have to make sure we hold onto fourth place and keep hoping until the end," Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. "We play Nice on the last day and even if it seems very difficult (to catch Nice), you never know in football."
Lyon's best shot at qualifying for the Champions League is by winning the Europa League, which guarantees a place in Europe's elite competition. Lyon faces Turkish club Besiktas in the first leg of the quarterfinals next week.
Lyon's match against Metz was originally scheduled for the 16th round of matches in early December. But it was suspended after 30 minutes when Metz fans threw numerous firecrackers onto the pitch and Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was briefly hospitalized with hearing loss.
Wednesday's game was behind closed doors as a punishment from the French league, meaning there were no fans allowed inside the Saint-Symphorien stadium.
"It's sad to play a match without any fans," Genesio said. "I hope we don't have to play in these conditions again."
Winger Hatem Ben Arfa proved a point to manager Unai Emery with two goals and an assist as Paris Saint-Germain cruised into the French Cup semifinals with a 4-0 win away to third-division Avranches.
Last week, Ben Arfa posted a video on social networks expressing his frustration at having limited chances at PSG since joining from Nice after netting 17 league goals last season.
"I don't accept my situation," Ben Arfa said on the video, although now he may be thinking differently.
His first goal came in the 35th minute from an expertly struck free kick from the right side of the penalty area that fizzed into the top left corner. He tapped in his second in 53rd after being set up by Brazilian Lucas, who added the third moments later. Playmaker Javier Pastore made it 4-0 after latching onto Ben Arfa's pass and flicking the ball over the goalkeeper.
Having won the League Cup last weekend, beating Monaco 4-1, PSG remains on course to win the domestic treble for the third straight season.
Earlier Wednesday, midfielder Cheikh N'Doye scored the winner midway through the second half as Angers beat Bordeaux 2-1.
In the semifinals, PSG is at home to Monaco and 2014 winner Guingamp travels to Angers.