Lyon beat a depleted Saint-Etienne in the Rhone derby to move within two points of PSG and Lille at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Due to both injuries and positive Covid-19 tests, Saint-Etienne were forced to start four players born in 2000 or later - a daunting prospect versus a Lyon front three who had scored 27 Ligue 1 goals this season prior to the match.
Any optimism was crushed early on when a corner fell to Tino Kadewere and he slotted home in the 16th minute to open the scoring.
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Rudi Garcia’s men extended their lead in the 36th minute when Marcelo powered a header home from Leo Dubois’ free-kick.
Dubois enjoyed a fruitful night down the right, with the full-back rarely being required to defend, and lightning struck twice when Marcelo headed another one of his free-kicks from a near-identical position to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.
Zimbabwe international Kadewere also bagged a brace, doubling his tally in the 68th minute by cutting inside to score on his left foot after an unselfish piece of play from Memphis Depay.
Depay was unfortunate not to have a goal of his own when Lyon made it 5-0 late on, with his curled free-kick being ruled a Denis Bouanga own goal after the ball scraped the back of the Saint-Etienne winger’s head.
The five-goal deficit makes it Saint-Etienne's joint-largest Rhone derby defeat and Lyon, who are now third in Ligue 1, will rue last week's surprise loss to Metz, as they could have very easily gone top.
Saint Etienne, on the other hand, stay in 16th - four points above the relegation zone.

La joie des Lyonnais face à Saint-Etienne

Image credit: Getty Images

TALKING POINT - Are Lyon genuine title contenders?

Although both Lille and Lyon are currently running PSG close in the title race, the fact that no team other than PSG or Monaco has won the title since the 2011/12 season when Montpellier shocked everyone makes you temper expectations slightly. That said, PSG are particularly vulnerable at this point in time considering that they are going through a transition period due to their managerial change. They have already lost four games and with 17 games to go you get the impression they could lose a few more. The last time they lost more than five matches in a Ligue 1 season was 2010/11 when they finished fourth.
While Lyon have been defensively astute so far this season, their attack is the main draw, with Toko-Ekambi, Depay and Kadewere all versatile goalscoring threats who can play across the forward line. There is also wonderkid Rayan Cherki and new signing Islam Slimani waiting in the wings to provide alternative options.
The team may have a young core who can develop over time, but with many of their key players and future stars coveted by some of Europe's biggest clubs, that should give Rudi Garcia and his players a sense of urgency.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Leo Dubois (Lyon)

The France international right-back had a field day, demonstrating an abundance of attacking prowess. Saint-Etienne's standoffish approach meant he did not have to do much defending but he still delivered on that end when called upon, winning eight duels throughout the match. He also created the most chances and the most dribbles during the game - six and four respectively. However, it was his set-pieces that really grabbed the limelight due to his consistently accurate deliveries from free-kicks, two of which were converted into goals by Marcelo. In previous seasons he has been held back by injury but if he continues to play like this he will definitely be able to hold down a starting place on a regular basis.

La joie des Lyonnais face à Saint-Etienne

Image credit: Getty Images


Saint-Etienne: Moulin 5, Trauco 4, Sissoko 5, Kolodziejczak 4, Camara 4, Moueffek 5, Gourna-Douath 4, Neyou 5, Gabard 5, Hamouma 5, Abi 5. Subs: Nordin 6, Bouanga 4, Sow 5, Aouchiche 6, Youssouf 5.
Lyon: Lopes 6, De Sciglio 7, Denayer 7, Marcelo 9, Dubois 9, Guimaraes 7, Mendes 7, Caqueret 7, Ekambi 7, Depay 8, Kadewere 9. Subs: Slimani N/A, Diomande N/A, Cherki N/A, Bard N/A, Gusto N/A.


16' - GOAL! Saint-Etienne 0-1 Lyon (Kadewere): The hero from last November's derby strikes again! Saint-Etienne defence too feeble in dealing with the corner and Kadewere is able to slot home from close range.
22' - OFF THE BAR!! Lyon now starting to really stamp their authority on this game, dominating possession. Mendes strikes over the bar from range after some good build-up play, then De Sciglio's effort ricochets off the bar shortly afterwards!
36' - GOAL! Saint-Etienne 0-2 Lyon (Marcelo): Fantastic free-kick delivery from Dubois and Marcelo rises to meet it and head home emphatically to make it 2-0 Lyon.
56' - OFF THE POST!! Nordin already making an impact after being subbed on at half-time! Played through on the counter attack, he decides to take-on Denayer himself before striking the ball on the move. His shot whacks the intersection between the post and bar before flying out for a goal-kick. Lopes was beaten!
59' - GOAL! Saint-Etienne 0-3 Lyon (Marcelo): Oh my word, lightning has struck twice! That's a carbon copy of the second goal! Dubois' free-kick from a near-identical position floats into Marcelo again, who leaves the Saint-Etienne defence with a sense of deja vu as he heads home to make it 3-0.
68' - GOAL! Saint-Etienne 0-4 Lyon (Kadewere): Lyon turn the heat up even more as a great piece of skill leaves Depay with an open player either side of him. He opts for Kadewere to his right, who cuts inside onto his left to score his second of the night! 4-0.
82' - GOAL! Saint-Etienne 0-5 Lyon (Bouanga og): And it's five! Lyon win a free-kick just outside the area to the left and Depay convinces Kadewere to let him take it before curling his effort into the top-right corner. Could be an own goal as replays show it came off the back of Bouanga's head.
84' - SAVED!! Incredible stop from Moulin! Toko-Ekambi hints he's going to pass it to Depay but instead goes it alone and tries to catch the Saint-Etienne 'keeper off guard but Moulin reacts well to make a brilliant save.


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