Nice boost Champions League hopes as Lyon hit six

Paris (AFP) – Andy Delort headed in a late winner as Nice beat Lorient 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday to revive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League before Lyon put six hapless Bordeaux.

Delort had put Nice in front with a penalty early in the second half on the Cote d’Azur after Khephren Thuram was fouled, but Armand Lauriente quickly equalised for relegation-threatened Lorient.

However, with the game heading for a draw, substitute Kasper Dolberg picked out Delort with a sublime cross in the 88th minute and he headed in his 10th Ligue 1 goal for Nice to secure the victory.

Nice had gone four games without a win to slide from second to outside the European qualifying spots before this encounter.

Champions League football is the aim for a club with lofty ambitions under their owners Ineos, the group chaired by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

The victory moved them back up to fourth and to within two points of third-placed Rennes, who lost 3-2 at home to Monaco on Friday.

Only the top two in France qualify automatically for the Champions League, with third place going into the qualifying rounds and fourth into the Europa League.

The top two in Ligue 1 meet later on Sunday as leaders Paris Saint-Germain play host to bitter rivals Marseille.

PSG are 12 points clear at the top with seven games left and a victory against Marseille would give them a chance to secure an eighth league title in 10 seasons as early as Wednesday.

Lyon were looking to bounce back from their midweek Europa League elimination at the hands of West Ham United in the quarter-finals and they crushed Bordeaux 6-1 to leave their opponents still in the automatic relegation places.

Moussa Dembele and Karl Toko-Ekambi both scored twice and Lyon recorded their biggest win of the season as they look to salvage European qualification from a disappointing campaign.

Cameroon forward Toko-Ekambi’s first goal was a gift after Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin horribly miskicked a back-pass.

Romain Faivre and Lucas Paqueta also scored for Lyon while Sekou Mara pulled one back with a penalty for Bordeaux who are 19th, three points adrift of Clermont in the relegation play-off place.

Lyon are eighth, four points adrift of Strasbourg in fifth place, which is a qualifying spot for the Europa Conference League.

Strasbourg had earlier moved back above Monaco into fifth on goal difference with a 1-1 draw at struggling Troyes.

Nantes, who will play Nice in next month’s French Cup final, drew 1-1 at home to local rivals Angers in a further setback to their chances of European qualification via the league.

Bottom club Metz drew 1-1 at home to Clermont, a result that leaves them five points behind their opponents.