Jan 25, 2013 at 7.30pm UK at ​Stade Nungesser
Valenciennes
0-2
Lyon

Nguette (51')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Fofana (8'), Gomis (28')
Fofana (53'), Malbranque (58'), Bisevac (71')

Live Commentary: Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon - as it happened

Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates after completing his hat-trick against Marseille on November 28, 2012
© PA Photos
Sports Mole'a minute-by-minute commentary of tonight's convincing 2-0 win for Lyon over Valenciennes.

Lyon went into tonight's clash with Valenciennes knowing that a positive result in Northern France would send them to the top of Ligue 1.

Valenciennes had only lost once at home all season before the match but fell behind after eight minutes when Gueida Fofana drove home from distance.

Remi Garde's side raced into a two-goal lead, which proved to be enough soon after when Bafetimbi Gomis netted from close range.

Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary of a convincing Lyon victory below:


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7.06pmGood evening French football fans and thanks for joining us for the opening match of week 22 in Ligue 1. Tonight sees Lyon travel to Valenciennes desperate to secure an important victory in the context of the title race.

7.09pmLyon know that they can move top of the table if they avoid defeat in Northern France but desperately need three points to keep pace in a congested title race. Valenciennes have built their solid mid-table position on a fine home record and will hope to keep that proud run going this evening.

7.13pmLyon have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this week as the club's concerted effort to cut the wage bill shows no sign of slowing down. Michel Bastos, Lisandro Lopez and top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis have all been heavily linked with moves away from France in the last few weeks. OL coach Remi Garde has admitted that he cannot be sure which of his star players will still be available for selection when the January window closes.

7.14pmWith rumours of dissent rife at Lyon tonight's team news should make for interesting reading. Let's take a look at the starting XI's for both sides in a match due to begin in around 15 minutes.

7.20pmTEAM NEWS:

VALENCIENNES: Pennetau, Mirin, Rose, Bong, Mater, Sankhare, Gomis, Aboubakar, Doessvi, Le Tallec, Nguette

LYON: Vercoutre, Réveillère, Bisevac, Lovren, Umtiti, Gonalons, Fofana, Malbranque, Lacazette, Ghezzal, Gomis


7.22pmApologies for the slight delay but right up until the last minute Lyon's team was shrouded in mystery, with Lisandro Lopez named to start before being replaced by Bafetimbi Gomis. Make of that what you will. Schalke target Michel Bastos has only been named on the bench which is a decision that will add to growing speculation he will swap Lyon for the Champions League contenders.

7.26pmLisandro has been reportedly been injured in the warm up in a move which will leave Lyon with just six substitutes this evening. Another player linked with a move away, most notably Juventus, the Argentine has struggled for form and fitness this season.

7.28pmBoth teams have just taken to the field at the Stade du Hainaut with David Guetta thumping in the background. The stadium looks around 80% full with the passionate home support creating a noisy welcome for their famous visitors.

2 minValenciennes get us underway shooting from left to right. Lyon are in a changed blue strip and quickly win back possession in their own half. Bisaevic goes down under a heavy challenge in his first involvement of the night.

4 minCHANCE! The home side are pressing high up the pitch in a bid to take control but nearly get caught on the break by Lacazaette, who makes a late run to meet the ball before sending a curling effort off the outside of the post.

6 minValenciennes go straight up the other end and force Remy Vercoutre to make a fine save but Aboubakar will know he should have put the home side ahead. A flick on from Le Tallec finds the powerful striker in space in the penalty area but his weak shot is stopped smartly.

8 min GOAL! Valenciennes 0-1 Lyon (Fofana)

10 minThe visitors go ahead through Gueida Fofana, who glides into the area unchallenged before sending a curling strike into the bottom corner. Lyon are set up to play on the counter and a devastating break has handed them an early advantage.

12 minTWO SAVES! Gomis comes close to doubling Lyon's lead twice in under a minute. First the target man is given time to control and shoot at Penneteau who makes a forceful save. The visitors quickly recycle possession and find Gomes alone in the six-yard box but he can only flick straight into Penneteau's waiting arms. Two huge chances to put this game out of sight in the early stages.

14 minCHANCE! Gomis drifts wide and again has the freedom of the Valenciennes penalty area but drills inches wide from a tight angle. Lyon will have wanted those last three chances to fall to their top scorer but he has failed to make their early dominance count.

16 minLyon have stunned the home crowd and taken control of a tricky looking away match. Former Premier League mainstay Steed Malbranque is the latest player to try his luck for Garde's side, sending a drive from distance well wide of the target.

18 minValenciennes are all at sea defensively and need three attempts to successfully clear a free kick from Rachid Ghezzal. Worrying times for the mid-table outfit looking to preserve their proud home record.

22 minThe home crowd have a designated cheerleader trying to rally the troops on a megaphone but the home side are yet to respond. Lyon are dictating the pattern of play and look threatening every time they go forward.

26 minGOAL! Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon (Gomis)

27 minGomis finally gets on the scoresheet and this time he could hardly miss. Fine build-up play from Fofana and Malbranque works an angle out wide for Lacazette. He beats the full-back before driving across goal for Gomis to stab home from close range. Simple but effective football from Remi Garde's side who are now two goals to the good.

30 minValenciennes are turning in comfortably their worst performance of the season to date. Gomis was not even due to start moments before kickoff but has taken full advantage of the late change to get his 12th of the season.

32 minPENALTY APPEAL! Lyon have a strong penalty appeal turned down after Sankhare's poor touch in his own area appeared to send the ball onto his arm and away from Fofana's grasp. The referee is uninterested and waves away protests from the Lyon players.

36 minDoessvi produces the home side's best moment of the match by some distance. The winger beat two players in a wide area before sending in a dangerous cross. Despite having time to judge his header Aboubakar was not able to hit the target.

38 minGomis barges Rose to the ground with his shoulder and is given a warning by the referee but manages to avoid a caution.

41 minLyon are happy to sit deep and continue to threaten on the counter. Lacazette looks particularly dangerous on the left and once again uses his pace and power to drive down the right before being outnumbered by covering defenders.

43 minLe Tallec and Malbranque clash in central midfield but it's the former Liverpool man wins a keenly-contested tussle. He has time to pick out a pass but his lofted cross to Nguette finds the winger in an offside position.

45 minDossevi drives down the right and wins the home side their fourth corner of the night but Lyon easily clear their lines and advance up the pitch.

8.20pmHALF-TIME Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon

8.22pmThe referee takes mercy on the home side and decides not to add any additional time. Lyon made a storming start to the match and fully merit their two-goal advantage at the interval.

8.26pmIf Lyon top scorer Gomis had been more clinical the visitors could have wrapped this match up in the first 20 minutes. Valenciennes have scored just six in their last nine games and will need a miraculous turnaround to avoid their second home defeat of the season.

8.30pmLacazette and Fofana have shown coach Remi Garde might not be so bleak without Michel Bastos as persistent speculation links the winger with a move away from Lyon. The Brazilian has been left out tonight ahead of a proposed move to Schalke.

46 minLyon get the second half underway and immediately claim possession deep into the final third to win their second corner of the match.

48 minMalbranque's in-swinging corner finds Lacazette unmarked but his looping header floats over the far post. An early sight of goal for Lyon as play continues in a familiar pattern to the first 45 minutes.

50 minYELLOW CARD! Valenciennes captain Mater robs Ghezzal of possession and advances up the pitch but Lyon once again win the ball back and break quickly with a long forward pass. Lacazette finds space out wide and is hacked down by Nguette, who is awarded the game's first yellow card for his late lunge.

53 minA pitch also used for rugby union is beginning to cut up and have an adverse effect on the match. If Lyon do decide to go long Gomis is the perfect target man and has worried the home defence all night.

56 minCHANCE! Umitti catches Dosevvi late and completely misses the ball to hand Valenciennes a dangerous free kick. Le Tallec reacts quickest to the cross and curls an effort towards goal that forces a fine sprawling save from Vercoutre at his near post.

60 minMalbranque sends in another dangerous free kick but full-back Reveillere is penalised for a push and another chance for Lyon to kill off the match breaks down.

63 minCHANCE! Ghezzal picks out Gomis at the far post but just as he looks destined to finish from close range Lyon's top scorer slips and Mater takes the chance to hammer away the danger. Another chance goes begging for Gomis, who genuinely could have scored four goals so far tonight.

66 minLe Tallec gets another sight of goal but after opting not to shoot with his first touch the striker is quickly crowded out by a host of Lyon defenders. Clearly a forward player lacking in confidence.

69 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Lyon decide to swap with impressive Lacazette for Mouhamadou Dabo, which looks a conservative swap. Valenciennes also make their first change of the evening, bringing on Israeli midfielder Maor Melikson.

72 minLyon are unsurprisingly content to sit and hold onto their two-goal lead. Valenciennes continue to be roared on by a loud signing section but have not given their fans much to cheer despite committing more men forward.

75 minGomis is showing no signs of the unhappy player that refused to shake Remi Garde's hand after being withdrawn last week. The powerful striker has put in a real shift tonight and continues to press the Valenciennes defence every time they dwell on the ball. Premier League managers take note.

77 minSAVE! Dossevi makes Vercoutre keep out his low volley after hitting a diagonal cross from Le Tallec first time towards the bottom corner. The ball was probably drifting just wide but the Lyon keeper decided to take no chances and palmed behind for a corner.

79 minGomis and Malbranque combine with neat approach play to set up Ghezzal just outside the penalty area. Despite having time and space the midfielder sends his shot high over the crossbar.

81 minSUBSTITUTION: Valenciennes swap Rene Gomis for versatile midfielder David Ducourtioux in a change which hardly screams attacking intent.

82 minSUBSTITUTION: Lyon are quickly forced into a change of their own as Samuel Umtiti goes down clutching his thigh and reshuffle their pack to introduce tall playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.

85 minJust five minutes left for Gourcuff to make an impression. A French international and talented if frustrating talent, the 26-year-old has been linked with a loan move to Arsenal in recent weeks as Lyon look to get high earners off the wage bill.

87 minLyon are winding down the clock with minimum fuss and are on their way to going clear at the top of Ligue 1. That is at least until Sunday night, when Paris Saint-Germain can restore their slender advantage with a victory against Lille.

89 minGourcuff gives away possession in an advanced area but Valenciennes are unable to mount an attack and look to have given up on any hope of a dramatic late comeback.

90 minBoth sides swap possession with a string of loose passes as the fourth official indicates that there will be a minimum of two minutes added time.

90 min+1Lyon decide to keep the ball deep in their own half to wind down the remaining few minutes.

90 min+2Valenciennes commit numbers forward in a final flurry but once again the crucial pass is not good enough and allows Lyon to clear their lines with relative ease.

9.22pmFULL-TIME Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon

9.24pmLyon close out a comfortable night's work to return to the top of Ligue 1 in a title race that has seen a series of sides spurn chances to build a clear lead. As it stands Remi Garde's men are three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain but Carlo Ancelotti's are yet to play this weekend.

9.25pmBafetimbi Gomis was a threat throughout the 90 minutes and although he did score on another night the powerful striker could have netted a first half hat-trick.

9.27pmPerhaps this evening's convincing victory will have persuaded Garde that he can cope without Lisandro Lopez and Michel Bastos, who are both primed to leave the club before the transfer window closes.

9.28pmThat just about brings Sports Mole's coverage of tonight's Ligue 1 clash to a close. Thanks for joining us and be sure to check back in this weekend for extensive coverage of a busy weekend of football across the continent. Goodnight!

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