PARIS — Forward Mariano Diaz scored his fourth goal this season and ‘keeper Anthony Lopes produced a couple of decisive saves as Lyon beat Guingamp 2-1 to go third in the French league on Sunday.
Struggling against a well-organized Guingamp team that created plenty of scoring chances, Lyon had to rely on some individual brilliance to snatch a third win of the season.
Nabil Fekir got past two defenders just outside the box to score the winner with a clinical finish in the 72nd minute.
Fekir’s goal came just one minute after Guingamp forward Marcus Thuram — the son of former France international Lilian Thuram — leveled with a fine header for his first goal in the topflight.
With his great pace and physical skills, Diaz has been an excellent addition to Bruno Genesio’s team so far, filling the void left by the departure of Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal.
The former Real Madrid player broke the deadlock after 19 minutes on the break, after collecting the ball near the halfway line. Guingamp defenders left him too much space and Diaz slotted home with a precise 25-meter (yard) shot into the bottom right corner.
Diaz’s goal came against the run of the play after Guingamp dominated the early exchanges with a high pressing game. The visitors also threatened to score with a couple of fine shots that went close before Lopes won a one-on-one duel with Lucas Deaux.
The Portugal international produced another crucial save in the 49th minute to deny a strike by Deaux, but could do nothing to stop Thuram’s perfectly-timed header.
Still unbeaten, Lyon moved within four points of leader Paris Saint-Germain.
MARSEILLE IN CRISIS
Marseille players were booed and whistled off the pitch after slumping to a second consecutive league defeat, a 3-1 home loss to Rennes.
Marseille, which is hoping to qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season, is already eight points behind PSG after five games.
Rudi Garcia’s team has conceded nine goals in its last two games and produced another dismal display at its Velodrome stadium, two weeks after a 6-1 humiliation at Monaco.
The hosts made a dire start, conceding after two minutes when Wahbi Khazri scored with a back-heel flick, and never looked capable of turning the match around.
Marseille’s defense was punished again in the 10th when Benjamin Bourigeaud beat goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with a long-range shot.
Unchallenged in the box, Joris Gnagnon sealed Rennes’ maiden win this season with 20 minutes with a free kick before Morgan Sanson pulled one back for Marseille in the closing minutes.
CABELLA DREAM DEBUT
Remy Cabella scored in the very first minute with his new club Saint-Etienne in the French league, but Angers managed to stay unbeaten with a 1-1 draw in a match on Sunday that both sides finished with 10 men.
Cabella, who joined from Marseille on a season-long loan, played a fine one-two with Vincent Pajot in Saint-Etienne’s first move and then beat Angers ‘keeper Alexandre Letellier with a curling finish.
However, the hosts could only hold onto their lead for another eight minutes, as Thomas Mangani scored his 12th career goal for Angers from the penalty spot after Ronael Pierre-Gabriel handled the ball in the box.
Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier kept the scores level when he parried a shot from Angelo Fulgini onto the bar.
Luck was also on the hosts’ side when Mangani’s powerful strike hit the crossbar and Baptiste Santamaria saw his effort hit the post on the hour mark.
Saint-Etienne’s Vincent Pajot was sent off three minutes into the second half for fouling Letellier while Enzo Crivelli received a red card with seven minutes left for a late tackle on Bryan Dabo.
Saint-Etienne moved to fourth in the standings, five points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain, which extended its perfect record to five games on Friday. With seven points, Angers is seventh.