Match Day 38
Lyon vs Nice
Sunday, May 21st, 2018
04:00am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Groupama Stadium
Last five matches form: W W W W L
Average goals per match: 2.27
Average goals against per match: 1.11
Top Scorer: Nabil Fekir and Mariano (18)
Last five matches form: D W D L W
Average goals per match: 1.38
Average goals against per match: 1.32
Top Scorer: Mario Balotelli (18)
European places on the line in the closing weekend of Ligue 1 as Lyon welcome Nice to the Groupama Stadium.
For the home side it is the ultimate prize of a place in next seasons Champions League which is at stake. Anything other than a win will leave the door ajar for Marseille to gate-crash the Champions League positions on the final day of the season.
Nice meanwhile have their eyes firmly focussed on the prize of a Europa League position. They currently have the final qualifying spot in their possession, but again anything other than three points will give seventh placed Bordeaux an opportunity to knock them off their perch.
The suspended Anthony Lopes is out for Lyon for whom joint top scorer Mariano is also rated as doubtful.
Pierre Lees-Melou and Christophe Jallet look like being the main absentees for the visitors.
However this one goes it surely cant be any worse for the visitors than the reverse fixture in Nice earlier in the campaign. Nice were on the wrong end of a 5-0 battering that day, having Marion Santos sent off in what was a fixture to forget.
This has all the makings of a cracker with both sides really needing maximum points. With home advantage and the better attacking options overall though, we see Lyon doing enough to cement their place in next seasons Champions League.
Prediction: Lyon 2 - 1 Nice
Half time: 0 - 1
Full time: 3 - 2
Shots: 23 - 11
Shots on target: 8 - 4
Corner Kicks: 8 - 7
Possession: 47% - 53%
Three players booked for each side here. Jeremy Morel, Rafael and Jordan Ferri seeing yellow for Lyon; Mario Balotelli, Walter Benitez and Alassane Plea the Nice men to have their names taken by referee Benoit Bastien.
At half time in this contest Lyon were out of the Champions League positions whilst Nice looked like comfortably holding on to the final Europa League spot. By the time of the full-time whistle everything had changed….
It was Nice who got their noses in front in the 18th minute. An excellent through-ball from Mario Balotelli sending Alassane Plea through on goal. Anything this man hits seems to go in at the minute, and whilst he didn't make the best of contact, his effort nevertheless bounced up off the turf, deflected off the keeper and found its way into the back of the net. 0-1 at half time.
If there's one player who personifies Lyons resurgence in the second half of the season it is undoubtedly Memphis Depay who has been in sensational form of late. Nowhere more so than in this game, with a second half hat-trick from the Dutchman turning the match on its head.
The first came in the 48th minute. Outstanding work from Nabil Fekir in the area, eventually drifting towards the left by-line before playing in a wicked low cross for Depay to slot home from a couple of yards.
Depay's second came in the 65th minute, this time from 25 yards. Lining up a free kick on the left, Depay opted to go straight under the jumpiong wall, seeming to take everyone by surprise as his effort found the bottom left corner.
The hat-trick came in the 86th minute. Played in on the left-hand side of the box by Bertrand Traore, Depay calmly chipped the ball over the outrushing keeper Walter Benitez.
Plea did ensure something of a tight finale when rifling into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area in the 89th minute, but Lyon hung on for a big three points.
Lyons reward from being one of the in-form teams in the second half of the Ligue 1 season is a place in next season's Champions League. They hold on to third spot, seeing off Marseille by a solitary point.
Nice meanwhile were overhauled by both Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne on the final day. They drop down to ninth and so miss out on the European positions.