France: Second-placed Lyon falls 4-1 to Bastia
PARIS (AP) -Second-place Lyon's hopes of catching French league leader Paris Saint-Germain received a blow Saturday when it lost 4-1 to Bastia.
Lyon's defensive frailties were exposed as promising youngster Florian Thauvin scored twice for the Corsican club. Bastia midfielder Thauvin capitalized on a counterattack to score into an empty net on the stroke of halftime.
Lisandro Lopez equalized with a volley in the 54th, but Bastia recaptured the lead two minutes later with a low strike from Anthony Modeste. Thauvin added a third goal in the 61st before Wahbi Khazri sealed the win in the 87th.
PSG could increase its lead to seven points if it beats Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
"It's terrible,'' Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons told Canal Plus television. "We created some chances in the first half but that goal before halftime hurt us. We tried to come back in the second half, unfortunately we made too many mistakes and conceded too many goals tonight.''
Also on Saturday, it was: Lille 1, Evian 2; Montpellier 1, Troyes 1; Reims 1, Rennes 0; Lorient 4, Brest 0; and Sochaux 1, Valenciennes 1.
Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff made his first start since January 18. The Bastia defense cleared one of his free kicks into the path of Khazri, who held off Samuel Umtiti to feed Thauvin for the opening goal.
Lopez leveled by flicking home another free kick from Gourcuff. But Lyon's title hopes took a hit within five minutes. Khazri chased a clearance from Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau to slip a through ball for Modeste, who beat Remy Vercoutre for his 10th goal this season.
On loan from Lille, the 20-year-old Thauvin initiated the third goal by combining with Claudio Beauvue before burying the ball into the bottom corner. Khazri took advantage of the passivity of the Lyon defense to curl a shot into the top corner in the closing minutes.
The scoreline could have been harsher for Lyon as Modeste was denied by Vercoutre in the 79th and a set piece from Beauvue hit the post in the 81st.
"We're a young team with not much experience, so it's not easy. But we try to hang tough,'' Gonalons said. "Now we must consolidate that second place.''
Evian put an end to Lille's five-game winning run in the league.
Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou opened the scoring in the seventh minute. But Evian striker Saber Khlifa equalized in the 30th with an assist from Cedric Barbosa. Djakaridja Kone notched the winner in the 68th with a header that took a deflection off Kalou.
Lille had the opportunity to salvage a draw, but Kalou fired a penalty over the bar in the 73rd. The 2011 champion remained in sixth place, five points behind third-place Marseille, which split the points with Ajaccio in a goalless draw on Friday.
Knocked out of the French Cup and the League Cup, Montpellier's only ambition left is to chase a European spot.
Gaetan Charbonnier volleyed home for the defending champion in the eighth. But Troyes teenager Corentin Jean leveled with a sudden low drive in the 51st, showing the two goals he scored last weekend in the 4-2 win over Reims were no fluke.
Montpellier stayed seventh, one point behind Lille.
In the battle for survival, Mohamed Fofana helped Reims move away from the relegation zone by heading in a cross from Antoine Devaux in the 32nd.
In Lorient, forward Julien Quercia followed up to score in the third minute after Brest goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux had denied Benjamin Corgnet. Yann Jouffre doubled the lead from close range in the eighth. Midfielder Wesley Lautoa made it 3-0 in the 39th before Gilles Sunu replaced Quercia in the second half and rounded off the scoring in the 81st.
Lorient leapfrogged Rennes into eighth place while Brest slipped to 17th, one point behind Reims.
In Sochaux, Algeria midfielder Ryad Boudebouz put the hosts ahead with a close-range header in the ninth. But Valenciennes substitute Opa Nguette skipped past Loic Poujol to beat goalkeeper Simon Pouplin in the 82nd.
On Sunday, PSG visits Saint-Etienne, Nice faces Nancy and Toulouse hosts Bordeaux.
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