Depay hat-tricks helps Lyon down Nice to secure Champions League spot
Lyon 3 - 2 Nice

Depay hat-tricks helps Lyon down Nice to secure Champions League spot

22/05/2018

A second-half hat-trick from Memphis Depay in a 3-2 victory over Nice secured Champions League football for Lyon on the final weekend of Ligue 1 action.

OL should have made sure of third place last weekend when they conceded two late goals to Strasbourg, and it appeared that might come back to haunt them when Alassane Plea's goal for Nice divided the teams at half-time.

But Lyon made a flying start to the second half, with Depay proving the match-winner. The Dutchman tapped in the equaliser then produced a brilliant free-kick in the 65th minute before finishing off a break four minutes from time.

There was still time for Plea to net his second but defeat for Nice means they miss out on Europa League football next season.

Nabil Fekir, who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Liverpool, had the first chance in the 10th minute with a fine shot from 20 yards that flew just wide.
Nice were forced to play on the break but did that expertly in the 18th minute. A superb through ball from Mario Balotelli played in Plea, who shot through the legs of Mathieu Gorgelin.

Nice keeper Walter Benitez made his first meaningful save five minutes later to keep out Houssem Aouar's header, while at the other end Wylan Cyprien's shot was deflected just wide.

Bertrand Traore was very unlucky not to equalise just after the half-hour mark, seeing his flick from Ferland Mendy's cross fly against the post and away.

Lyon boss Bruno Genesio sent on Mariano for the second half and almost immediately they were level. Aouar had already seen a shot saved and Mariano missed with a header before Fekir crossed for Depay to tap in.

A point was not enough for Lyon, though, and they continued to create chances, with Depay seeing a shot saved and Mariano glancing a header onto the roof of the net.

Lyon were vulnerable on the break and Balotelli should have put Nice back in front after a deflected pass left him in space but he mis-hit his shot well over.

And the visitors were made to pay for that miss only four minutes later when Lyon took the lead. Marlon Santos' foul on Traore gave Lyon a set-piece 22 yards out and Depay placed his shot perfectly under the wall and in off the post.

Plea then appeared fortunate to stay on the pitch after aiming a headbutt at Rafael following a tackle from behind. The incident caused players from both teams to become involved but, when things calmed down, the referee showed a yellow card to both men.

Plea came close to an equaliser with 10 minutes late, seeing a shot very well saved by Gorgelin, who was then grateful to his defenders for helping him out when his poor punch from a corner left the goal exposed.

Depay looked to have made sure of the three points when he completed his treble in the 86th minute only for Plea to smash in his second two minutes later, but Nice could not find an equaliser.

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