Lyon claws its way back into the battle for the Champions League spots with a 4-1 thrashing of Caen in the French league on Sunday



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PARIS — Lyon clawed its way back into the battle for the Champions League spots with a 4-1 thrashing of Caen in the French league on Sunday.

Lyon's third consecutive league win lifted the seven-time champions to a provisional fourth place in the standings, level on points with Nice.

Coach Bruno Genesio, who replaced Hubert Fournier during the winter break, seems to have found the right balance as his side has now scored 10 goals in its last three league matches, conceding just one.

"This is a big satisfaction despite the goal we conceded," Lyon attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena said. "We played beautiful football and we should have scored more goals with a bit more efficiency. But we should not complain, we played with great spirit."

While runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain looks all but guaranteed to win a fourth straight title, the fight for the second automatic Champions League spot remains wide open. Only seven points separate Lyon from second-place Monaco, which drew 1-1 at third-place Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

PSG has a 24-point lead at the top of the standings.

Lyon quickly built a two-goal lead with strikes from Samuel Umtiti and Alexandre Lacazette before Maxwell Cornet made it 3-0 in the 45th minute. Lacazette, who has been struggling with confidence after finishing the previous campaign as the league's top scorer, netted his 10th league goal from Jordan Ferri's assist.

Andy Delort pulled one back for Caen near the hour-mark and Corentin Tolisso sealed Lyon's win seven minutes from time.

After its third consecutive loss, Caen dropped to 10th, three points behind Lyon.

On Valentine's Day, Monaco striker Vagner Love scored his first goal in the French league to cancel out Moustapha Sall's header at Geoffroy Guichard stadium.

Saint-Etienne dominated for long spells but Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic made four decisive saves in the first half.

Nice later hosts Marseille.

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