Follow the Ball – Game 17: Montpellier vs Lyon

 
The first time that I started to get ahead of myself and look towards the end of the season with the same winning team in charge of Follow the Ball, I was flicking through Paris Saint-Germain’s league fixtures and reckoning that they could go untroubled. I was rewarded with a victory for Lyon in the next game and tried to tell myself I wouldn’t do it again.

As you’d expect – I haven’t learned my lesson.

With six games to go in the Ligue 1 season, I’ve decided that Lyon will be able to find a way to go unbeaten against Montpellier (this week’s game), Nice, Toulouse, Ajaccio, Monaco and Reims. Hopefully.

Game 16: Lorient vs Lyon
Ligue 1, Sunday 3rd April 2016, Stade du Moustoir

Game 17: Montpellier vs Lyon
Ligue 1, Friday 8th April 2016, Stade de la Mosson

After a few weeks of good form, Lyon’s 2-0 victory lifted them into second place on goal difference and leaves them looking in decent knick ahead of the run-in. Montpellier – rather weirdly – didn’t force the issue with their opponents in the second and looked oddly content with a 0-2 defeat having started the game brightly.

Both teams had a couple of half chances to score a third goal in the game but without a huge amount of intensity in the game, it simply wound down to a finish.

Just as I was suggesting that Maxwel Corent would benefit from some time off, he bagged himself a couple of goals in the game. Scoring the two in reasonably quick succession – the 34th and 40th minutes – killed the game and deflated the hopes of the hosts.

His first goal was well taken despite a heavy first touch. He prodded the ball into the bottom corner after glancing past a defender, though Jordan Ferri deserves huge credit for winning the ball high up the field and catching Montpellier off-guard.

The second goal required slightly less work as Maxwell applied the finish after excellent work from Alexandre Lacazette.

There was other good news for Lyon as Nabil Fekir made his return from injury. His time on the sidelines has allowed others the chance to step into team; though I suspect the Lyon fans will be happy to see the 22 year-old return. He has a few weeks to get his rhythm back without too much pressure before enjoying a full pre-season and giving 2016/17 everything that he has.

The home team and relatively recent league winners have slipped towards the Ligue 1 relegation zone in recent weeks and will be disappointed with defeat. That said, I suspect that they will focus on other games against easier opponents to earn the points that steer them to safety; rather than the currently rampant Lyon.

So far so good on that unbeaten run to the end of the season.

The Result: Montpellier 0-2 Lyon

What’s next? Lyon vs Nice in Ligue 1

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