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Lacazette leads Lyon to derby victory

Monday, November 9, 2015 8:37:00 AM America/Los_Angeles

Alexandre Lacazette returned to form in style with a hat-trick as Lyon beat bitter rivals Saint-Etienne 3-0 in the last derby meeting of the teams at the Stade de Gerland on Sunday.

Last season's Ligue 1 player of the year Lacazette opened the scoring in the first half and added two more after the break on his 150th top-flight appearance as Lyon, who will move to a new 59,000-seat stadium early in 2016, claimed the bragging rights in the Rhone-Alpes rivalry.

The victory, Lyon's third in a row in Ligue 1, allows Hubert Fournier's side to go clear in second place, although they remain ten points adrift of unbeaten league leaders Paris Saint-Germain and also lost captain Maxime Gonalons and centre-back Samuel Umtiti to injury. Saint-Etienne, meanwhile, are fifth, behind Angers on goal difference, after a disappointing display.

Lyon, who are staring at an early exit from the UEFA Champions League following a 2-0 home loss to Zenit St. Petersburg in midweek, were unlucky not to get the breakthrough late in the first half when Stephane Ruffier made a double save to deny Jordan Ferri and Mathieu Valbuena.

Lacazette opened the scoring four minutes before the break when he spun away from Loic Perrin and then lifted the ball over Ruffier. Lacazette collected a Valbuena pass and worked his way into a shooting position before stabbing wide early in the second half, but he did find the net again in the 59th minute. Ruffier saved from a Rafael piledriver but Lacazette followed in to convert the rebound, and he completed his hat-trick in stoppage time when he latched on to Ferri's pass before rounding Ruffier to slot home.

Scorer of a club record 27 league goals last season, he now has six goals in all competitions in this campaign and his performance was a timely reminder to France coach Didier Deschamps, who left him out of the latest national squad.

"I felt that Alexandre Lacazette was coming good in the last few days. And a hat-trick in a derby -- that does not happen all the time," Fournier said. "Despite what has happened to him, he is happiest on the football pitch. He had already been punished enough by not being selected for the national team."

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