Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Ligue 1: Depay’s goal streak hits 5 games; Lyon reeling in Monaco

Leave a comment

MONACO (AP) Lyon won at Dijon 5-2 and moved within one point of second-place Monaco in the French league on Friday.

Lyon’s sixth straight league win kept them level on points with fourth-place Marseille.

The team finishing second qualifies automatically for next season’s Champions League, while the team in third goes into the playoffs. After this weekend, there will be four rounds remaining.

Memphis Depay has scored or created 12 of Lyon’s 16 last goals.

The Netherlands forward opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a close-range volley, and set up the fourth goal for winger Bertrand Traore in the 77th.

Depay almost scored another, just failing to reach right back Rafael‘s cross in the 50th. Midfielder Houssem Aouar followed up and his strike was turned into his own net by defender Valentin Rosier.

Lyon’s other goals came from forwards Nabil Fekir in the 53rd and Maxwell Cornet in the 82nd.

MONACO (AP) — After losing the French title last weekend, Monaco is in danger of throwing away second place after losing at Guingamp 3-1 on Saturday.

The defeat leaves Monaco just one point ahead of Lyon and Marseille as the three sides chase an automatic place in the Champions League with four games left.

Monaco was thrashed by champion Paris Saint-Germain 7-1 last Sunday and the defense leaked easily again, albeit with a little help from one of its defenders.

A makeshift Monaco fell behind midway through the first half after Brazilian defender Jemerson was given a red card for stopping a shot on the line. He was sent off and veteran forward Jimmy Briand netted from the penalty spot for mid-table Guingamp.

Monaco capitulated and trailed 3-0 after 47 minutes. Defender Almamy Toure replied in vain with a consolation goal midway through the second half.

Marseille crushed Lille 5-1 to join Lyon on 69 points. Lyon, which won at Dijon 5-2 on Friday for a sixth straight win, has a better goal difference.

Marseille also has the Europa League and plays the first leg of its semifinal at home to Austrian side Salzburg next Thursday. But Lyon has only Ligue 1 to think about.

Still, Marseille is also brimming with confidence these days, especially winger Florian Thauvin.

He scored twice against Lille to extend his career-best league tally to 19. Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou also netted twice, and forward Lucas Ocampos completed the rout against 19th-place Lille.

In other matches: Amiens won against Strasbourg 3-1; struggling Toulouse beat Angers 2-0, and last-place Metz drew at home to Caen 1-1.

PSG is at Bordeaux on Sunday. Also, Nice is at home to Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne takes on Troyes.

WATCH: Dembele finally gets first La Liga goal in 10-man Barca draw

Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ousmane Dembele definitely didn’t expect to wait until April for his first La Liga goal when he signed from Borussia Dortmund for nearly $150 million last summer.

After an assist on his La Liga debut — in the Barcelona Derby and on a feed to Luis Suarez no less — the 20-year-old has faced two significant muscle injuries and just plain bad luck for the Blaugranas.

[ MORE: Neymar speaks on World Cup ]

With assists in four of his last seven league games and a first Barca goal against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League last month, the league goal was coming (although you’d be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t be on a night with Lionel Messi and Suarez on the bench).

Barca is now unbeaten in 40 league matches after the Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo, and has 12-point lead on Atletico Madrid. Atleti has played one less match.

Ligue 1: PSG win title after crushing defending champs Monaco 7-1

AP Photo/Michel Euler
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain won the French league title after beating defending champion Monaco 7-1 on Sunday, with the crushing victory highlighting the obvious gulf between the two teams this season.

Monaco meekly surrendered the title that it had won so impressively last season, doing little to prolong the suspense. It was losing 4-0 after 28 minutes as PSG easily did enough for a fifth title in six seasons and a seventh overall. PSG leads second-place Monaco by 17 points with five rounds remaining.

Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and winger Angel Di Maria scored two goals each, while league top scorer Edinson Cavani grabbed his 25th of the season.

PSG captain Thiago Silva’s header went in off Radamel Falcao — Monaco’s top scorer — for PSG’s sixth goal before Germany winger Julian Draxler netted the seventh.

French league expanding in China with TV deal

AP Photo/Francois Mori
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) The French football league is continuing its expansion in China after signing a four-year deal with the China Central Television group.

The LFP said in a statement its top-flight matches will be accessible to more than one billion people following the agreement with beIN Sports and CCTV. BeIN Sport has a partnership for the international media rights to French league games.

[ MORE: Tuesday UCL preview, including Man City’s road back against Liverpool ]

The deal covers four seasons, until 2021. From next season, two games will be broadcast live each match day on CCTV channels. Magazines produced by beIN Sports will also be aired, as well as match summaries.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Didier Quillot, the LFP executive director, said “one year after the opening of our Beijing office, this major breakthrough demonstrates the new-found attractiveness of our league internationally.”

Depay makes case for another big move in Lyon’s 5-0 rout of Metz

Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

PARIS (AP) Brazilian defender Marcelo scored twice and forward Memphis Depay was involved in every goal as Lyon piled more misery on last-place Metz with a 5-0 win in the French league on Sunday, keeping its chances alive in the race for Champions League qualification.

With six matches left this season, the seven-time French champions cut their deficit with second-place Monaco to seven points.

Paris Saint-Germain has a 14-point lead at the top of the standings and can seal its fifth title in six years with a win against Monaco next weekend.

It was Lyon’s fourth 5-0 win of the season, and its fourth consecutive league win. The result took Lyon to third, level on points with Marseille.

Under the guidance of an excellent Depay, who delivered four assists and scored one goal, Lyon was in control throughout. Marcelo scored in the opening minute of the game at the Saint-Symphorien stadium with a header and doubled the visitors’ lead in the 21st from another corner kick.

Depay made it 3-0 in the 65th with a chipped finish before Bertrand Tarore and Mariano Diaz completed the rout.

“I can do even better with more belief in myself,” Depay said. “I delivered four assists tonight, but I could have had more and scored more goals. I like to play in that role because I’m close to the goal.”