With a little slice of luck…
PSG had moved provisionally top after their victory over Toulouse on Saturday. But a draw for OL would move back to first place. Les Lyonnais had drawn their last three in the league! OM had a tough match to come later on Sunday night away to Saint-Etienne. Les Nantais hadn't won in the league since the turn of the year (3 draws and 3 losses). They were in need of points to avoid sliding further down the table...
Alex Lacazette made his return to action after three weeks on the sidelines. Just before kick-off, he received his trophy for the January Player of the Month award. He partnered Fekir in attack. Jallet was missing, so Dabo filled in at right-back. Gourcuff started at the tip of the midfield diamond and B. Koné got the nod in central defence over Rose. For Nantes, Bedoya and Audel were absent… Bangoura started in attack.
Fekir had the first chance of the match, but fired Dabo's cross wide. Then it was Gourcuff's turn after good lead up play from Bedimo and Fekir. FCNA looked to hit on the counterattack, as expected, and OL passed the balla round against a disciplined defence, looking for the opening. Gakpé had a great chance to open the scoring on the counter. Les Lyonnais were struggling for ideas and Cissokho went within a whisker of netting the first goal. OL began to look more and more nervy at the back... However Fekir hit the junction of post and crossbar with a free-kick. On the stroke of half-time, OL had another great free-kick, but it came to nothing... Gonalons and Co. didn't deserve any better than the scoreless result at the break against a Nantes side that looked more and more dangerous as the game went on.
Gourcuff started getting more of the ball higher up the pitch in the second half. OL immediately looked better. But Les Canaris still looked dangerous and committed to the cause as they racked up the fouls and the bookings. Space began to open up at both ends. FCNA sat deeper and deeper. Fortunately, Fekir took advantage of a mistake in the visitors' backline to score after a lucky rebound. Lacazette, involved in the goal, was replaced by NJie. Ghezzal came on for Gourcuff. Nantes looked to salvage something from the game... in vain. NJie had two chances to make it 2-0, but was denied by Riou. OL got a late penalty, but with the last kick of the game, Gonalons put it wide…
OL got back to winning ways, without playing their best football, especially in a difficult first half. There were a few nice passages of play, a few shaky moments and, fortunately, more desire and application after the break. The main thing was the win and three precious points before three away games in a row...
Lyon, Stade de Gerland, 37,000 spectators; Referee: Mr Fautrel. OL 1-0 FC Nantes (H-T: OL 0-0 FC Nantes)
OL: Lopes – Dabo, B. Koné, Umtiti, Bedimo – Gonalons (c), Ferri (Malbranque 85'), Tolisso, Gourcuff (Ghezzal 76') – Fekir, Lacazette (NJie 67'). Coach: Fournier.
FC Nantes: Riou – Cissokho, Vizcarrondo, Djilobodji, Veigneau (c) – Deaux, Hansen –Gapké (Nkoudou 74'), Veretout, Bessat (Iloki 80') –Bangoura (Bammou 74'). Coach: Der Zakarian.
Goal: Fekir 67'Bookings: Deaux (N) 30', Ferri (OL) 33', Bessat (N) 44', Djilobodji (N) 53', Gakpé (N) 54', Cissokho (N) 58', Dabo (OL) 78'