Memphis Depay

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Ligue 1: Alves secures late win for PSG; Depay does same for Lyon

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PARIS (AP) — Memphis Depay scored in the last minute of a frantic match to give Lyon a 3-2 win at third-placed Marseille that keeps alive its chances of Champions League soccer next season.

In the fight for a Champions League playoff spot, fourth-placed Lyon closed the gap on Marseille to two points with eight games left. Monaco is seven points ahead of Marseille in second spot.

The match at Stade Velodrome ended with players pushing and shoving after the final whistle. Lyon defender Marcelo then mockingly brandished a Lyon jersey in front of Marseille’s players as they were walking off. It sparked a further melee which took more than a minute before security officials brought it under control. Several players from both sides tried to get at each other, rather than walking away when they had the chance.

It was the latest volatile incident in the French league.

On Thursday, several police officers were injured after clashes with Lyon fans before a Europa League game against CSKA Moscow.

This followed on from a mass pitch invasion by angry fans of struggling Lille on March 10, when about 200 fans charged onto the pitch to confront players after a home draw with Montpellier.

The acrimony continued Sunday.

As the players walked back through the tunnel to the dressing rooms, Marseille center back Adil Rami had to be held back as he launched himself at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also had to be pushed away moments later as he sought to back Rami up.

“When I see that it just makes me sad,” said Lyon defender Jeremy Morel, who formerly played for Marseille. “This isn’t even about football. I think we’ve really had enough of this, we don’t need it.”

Marseille winger Florian Thauvin saw it differently.

“Some Lyon players took the liberty of mocking us. It’s not professional on their part,” Thauvin said. “They lacked respect. (Marcelo) is a professional player, he should be leading by example. They shouldn’t behave like that.”

Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou’s looping header in the 84th minute appeared to have earned Marseille a point, after Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar put Lyon ahead 2-1 shortly after the break with a sweetly struck shot from winger Betrand Traore’s pass.

Mitroglou then almost went clean through from the halfway line in the 89th, only to be incorrectly called back for offside. It proved a key moment as Depay scored the winner one minute later.

Lopes took the free kick after the offside decision, striker Mariano Diaz headed the ball on just outside the edge of the penalty area and Depay read it well to nod it over the advancing Mandanda from just inside the area.

Rami’s own-goal late in the first half canceled out center back partner Jorge Rolando’s opener in the 31st.

“We defended really badly,” Mandanda said. “We just didn’t match them in the challenges.”

Dani Alves took Paris Saint-Germain a step closer to the French title, scoring his first league goal of the season with a late header as PSG won 2-1 at Nice.

The 34-year-old Brazil defender met midfielder Adrien Rabiot’s astute curling pass with a powerful header into the bottom right corner in the 82nd minute.

PSG is 17 points clear of defending champion Monaco and almost certain to win its fifth title in six seasons. PSG has seven games left and Monaco has eight.

Nice took the lead in the 17th minute. Mario Balotelli expertly chested down a high ball to the feet of strike partner Alassane Plea near the halfway line, and Plea’s pass sent Allan Saint-Maximin scampering though to finish coolly.

Four minutes later, Angel Di Maria took advantage of slack defending to equalize. It was his ninth goal in 25 league games and he needs one more to match his career-best tally.

The match started at 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) to capture a prime-time television audience in Asia. This follows on from the opening of a French league football office in Beijing last year.

“The Spanish and the English did this before. We train in the mornings, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Nice coach Lucien Favre, referring to the early kickoff. “I hope it was a good advert (for Ligue 1). It was a good game.”

Nice is in eighth place, three points above Saint-Etienne in ninth.

Depay strike downs PSG, brings Lyon second in Ligue 1

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Memphis Depay‘s time in England may not have gone according to plan, but the young Dutchman is tearing it up in France.

[ SPAIN & ITALY: Bale, Real Madrid soar with seven-goal outburst and more ]

The former Manchester United winger scorched the game-winner into net on Sunday, as his Lyon side went on to defeat league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1, at the Stade des Lumières.

Stunning first-half strikes from Nabil Fekir (15th goal of the season) and Layvin Kurzawa had the two clubs level at 1-1 going into the halftime break, but there was more action to be had after the mandatory stoppage.

A straight red card from Dani Alves in the second stanza put the Parisians at a major disadvantage, and Lyon would capitalize down the stretch with the extra man.

The hosts putting the finishing touches on the match four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time when Depay struck a beauty of a shot past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Depay is now up to 10 goals on the season in all competitions for Lyon, including eight in league play.

PSG may have suffered its biggest loss though in the first half when Kylian Mbappe was taken off the field on a stretcher after a rough collision with Lyon shot-stopper Anthony Lopes.

The victory brings Lyon up to second place in France’s top flight, while PSG still holds an eight-point  lead over the runners’ up with 16 matches left in Ligue 1 play.

LFP comes down hard on Bastia after Lyon incident

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The Ligue de Football Professional (LFP) has dropped the hammer on SC Bastia after the abandonment of its home Ligue 1 match was abandoned at halftime.

The match was initially delayed by 45 minutes after home supporters invaded the pitch during warmups and attacked Lyon players, including former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay and backup goalkeeper Mathieu Gorgelin. The match would eventually get under way despite Lyon’s attempts to have it postponed, but at halftime, more supporters entered the pitch and were involved in altercations with Lyon players and staff.

Now, the LFP has punished Bastia by declaring the match a victory for Lyon by forfeit (which usually goes down in the scorebooks by a 3-0 scoreline), and forcing Bastia to play three matches behind closed doors. Bastia has just one more home match left this season – against Lorient – so two games will be played next season with an empty stadium.

The attacks and pitch invasions were attributed to a single supporter group, Bastia 1905. The club filed a lawsuit against the supporter group the day after the match.

One silver lining is that the Corsican club was not hit with a point deduction, which could prove vital in its relegation battle. Nevertheless, Bastia is last in the Ligue 1 table, and with away matches against Marseille and PSG, relegation seems all but assured, if not a mathematical certainty at this point.

Video: Memphis Depay stuns with midfield blast

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His days at Manchester United were anything but spectacular, however, Memphis Depay is out to make a name for himself once more in France.

The Lyon attacker decided that distance wasn’t an issue on Sunday when Depay scored from nearly midfield in the dying minutes of his side’s 4-0 win over Toulouse.

The 82nd minute finish was Depay’s second on the day and fifth goal since joining Lyon during the January transfer window. Lyon currently sits fourth in Ligue 1, 18 points out of the top spot — which is held by Monaco.

Watch Depay’s magical moment below.

Memphis Depay scores first Lyon goal to silence critics

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Former Manchester United attacker Memphis Depay came off the bench to open his Lyon scoring account with a penalty to cap off a 4-0 win over AS Nancy.

Depay came on for an injured Mathieu Valbuena in the 40th minute and bagged a penalty 13 minutes after the break to complete the scoring, his first goal for his new club after joining in the January transfer window from Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old had come under fire for poor performances in his first two Lyon starts, both losses. He was substituted in the 67th minute in a 2-1 loss to Lille, and then was yanked in the 65th minute in a 2-0 loss to St. Etienne, the latter of which L’Equipe’s notoriously harsh player ratings gave him a 2/10. Depay was promptly benched, but redeemed himself slightly with Wednesday’s performance that pushed Lyon four points above St. Etienne in fourth, although they still sit a whopping 12 points back of Nice in third and 15 behind leaders Monaco.

Lyon fans have criticized the club executives and players for a lack of ambition, unfurling banners before the Nancy game that read “you are unforgivable” aimed at striker Alexandre Lacazette, who announced his intention to leave the club this summer.

Valbuena said after the match that he believes his injury is not serious.