PARIS – Lyon’s four-match winning streak in Ligue 1 came to an end in the absence of captain Nabil Fekir as they were held to a 0-0 home draw by Montpellier on Sunday.
Bruno Genesio’s men slipped to nine points adrift of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain after a disappointing performance, while they could lose third place to Marseille, who play Bordeaux later on Sunday.
The hosts went into the game in a rich vein of form, having scored 21 goals in six league matches since a 2-0 defeat at PSG in September.
But they had to make do without top scorer Fekir, with the 24-year-old suspended after picking up his third yellow card of the campaign for his celebration after scoring the final goal in the 5-0 derby thrashing of Saint-Etienne.
“Montpellier, who defended well, were good and we didn’t know what to do to win,” said Lyon defender Mouctar Diakhaby.
“It’s certain that Nabil (Fekir) was missed today. We can not do without such a player.”
Brazilian centre-back Marcelo added: “We know that we have a good team, but when we miss a player of the quality of Nabil Fekir, it’s obviously a big problem. He is very important for us.”
Lyon coach Bruno Genesio replaced Fekir with Maxwel Cornet, with 20-year-old Tanguy Ndombele coming in for Bertrand Traore who was left on the bench.
The hosts should have taken the lead less than 10 minutes in, but midfielder Houssem Aouar fired wide from close range.
Midtable Montpellier also went close early on, with Paul Lasne crashing a 25-yard strike narrowly over the top of Anthony Lopes’ crossbar.
The best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Cornet, but after bursting through, the winger’s tame effort was saved by the legs of Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
Memphis Depay struggled to make an impact on the left-hand side, curling an ambitious effort straight at Lecomte midway through the second half, while Traore was a peripheral figure after coming off the bench as the game fizzled out.
Earlier on Sunday, Nice’s miserable start to the season continued as Ronny Rodelin scored an injury-time equaliser for Caen in a 1-1 draw.
Pierre Lees-Melou had given Nice a first-half lead, but with Mario Balotelli suspended, Lucien Favre’s men failed to build on that advantage and are now just two points clear of the bottom two.
PSG extended their lead at the top of the table over Monaco to six points by beating Nantes 4-1 on Saturday, with Edinson Cavani scoring a brace.
Defending champions Monaco dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at newly-promoted Amiens on Friday, despite a second-half equaliser from Stevan Jovetic.