PARIS — If Lyon wants to challenge for the French league title it must learn how to defend, because frailties at the back were glaringly exposed again in a 3-1 home loss to Bordeaux on Saturday.
Monaco took full advantage to move top of the league with a 4-1 win at Lille, with three of the goals scored by defenders.
Earlier, long-serving Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas watched glum-faced from the stands as former France winger Jeremy Menez scored the third goal in the 90th minute, by which point many fans were already leaving their seats. At the final whistle, goalkeeper Anthony Lopes sat slumped against the goalpost with his head in his hands.
Top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, who was involved in the move that led to Aldo Kalulu giving Lyon a second-minute lead, limped off near the end with a thigh injury.
“It’s a nightmare of an afternoon,” Aulas said. “The result was very disappointing and we have more bad news.”
Lacazette is expected to be out for several weeks with a thigh injury.
“He felt a really big pain when he made a run,” Aulas said. “The doctor will speak tomorrow but we’re expecting it to be a few weeks.”
But it all started going wrong long before Lacazette limped back to the dressing room.
Lyon was not closing down high enough up the pitch and sat back after the opening goal, leaving Bordeaux too much room.
Striker Malcolm equalized, and Lyon’s marking was awful when Gregory Sertic headed in to make it 2-1 in the 71st. Just moments earlier, Lyon went down to 10 men when captain Maxime Gonalons was red-carded for a heavy challenge on Malcolm.
The loss follows a defeat away to Dijon in the previous round, when Lyon led 2-1 before losing 4-2.
But the warning signs were already there when Lyon lost 4-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions Trophy, France’s traditional preseason opener.
Still, when Lyon won its opening two league games of the campaign — with Lacazette scoring five goals — this raised expectations that it could be a contender in the league eight years after winning the last of its seven straight French titles. The signing of center half Nicolas N’Koulou from Marseille was supposed to improve the defense, but the Cameroon international has struggled and was dropped for Saturday’s match.
To compound the defeat, midfielder Rachid Ghezzal was booked for diving late on to try and claimed a penalty.
Although Aulas said he has “total faith” in coach Bruno Genesio, he added that “solutions must be found” ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb.
Bordeaux climbed up to second place with nine points, one behind Monaco.
Here’s what else happened in the French League:
MONACO 4 LILLE 1
Monaco welcomed back striker Radamel Falcao from injury, but he was not even needed.
Right back Djibril Sidibe put Monaco ahead early on from a free kick, midfielder Adama Traore scored, and defender Fabinho made it 3-0 early in the second half before center back Kamil Glick added the fourth.
Monaco’s hopes of a clean sheet were dashed when Lille defender Julian Palmieri scored in injury time.
Guingamp missed the chance to move level at the top when it drew 1-1 at home to Montpellier, needing an equalizer from midfielder Marcus Coco.
Nancy climbed off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Lorient, which dropped to last, while Angers also grabbed its first win of the season against Dijon by 3-1, and Corsican side Bastia beat Toulouse 2-1.
On Sunday, much-traveled striker Mario Balotelli could make his Nice debut at home to Marseille.