LYON’S DEMBELE LOOSE OUT ON BATTLE OF THE SRTIKERS AS WONDERFUL CARDONA STRIKE SEALS WIN FOR HOST.
Second half substitute Irvin Cardona scored a late winner as Stade Brestois ended their three-match winless run at Stade Francis Le Blé and earned a first home win over Lyon since February 1991.
Despite sitting ten points clear of the Ligue 1 relegation places and all but securing safety in the French top flight for a third straight season, Brest’s campaign was in danger of fizzling out after one win in their last five. However, the ‘Pirates’ held firm against Lyon’s early pressure and they edged into the contest, which led to the opener when Castello Lukeba attempted to header a looping Brest cross clear, but the defender inadvertently handled the ball. Referee Jérémy Stinat had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Steve Mounié stepped up, sent Julian Pollersbeck the wrong way and slotted into the bottom corner.
After putting six past Bordeaux last time out to end their three-match winless run, Lyon were always going to muster a response and they went close before HT. Lucas Paquetá went close to levelling the scores with a curling effort from the edge of the area that skimmed the post before Moussa Dembélé beat the offside trap and dinked the over Marco Bizot, only for the ball to trickle wide of the bottom corner.
In need of three points to avoid falling further behind the race for European places in Ligue 1, Lyon set out on the front foot in the second half and top-scorer Dembélé had an early chance when he controlled in the area with time and space but fired straight at Bizot. Eventually, the Brest resistance fell after Tetê drifted into a central position and played in Dembélé, who made no mistake, smashing in his 15th goal of the season. There appeared little hope for Brest to come back after Franck Honorat, who had scored eight of his last ten league goals after HT, withdrew with injury. But, Honorat’s replacement Irvin Cardona had no issues filling in as the striker rose highest to meet Julien Faussurier’s corner with a towering header.
Now just five points off the top ten, Brest will hope this result gives them momentum to achieve a first Ligue 1 top half finish in the 21st century. Lyon’s European dreams, however, have been dealt a huge blow as the ‘Les Gones’ are now seven points adrift of the top six.