Karim Benzema returned and a late penalty from Alexandre Lacazette saved Lyon’s 1-1 draw against Nice to keep his team ahead of the visitors in the French league on Friday.
Former Leon forward Benzema, now playing for Real Madrid, was hailed a hero as he presented his Ballon d’Or to home fans ahead of kickoff.
Lacazette destroyed a spot kick midway as Lyon supporters behind the goal were already celebrating the goal with a huge display of red pyrotechnics.
But the decision to award the penalty was controversial as TV replays showed Lacazette was already out of balance and falling prior to the alleged contact with Jean-Claire Todibo. The opposition of Todibo and fellow defender Dante was removed.
It looked like a retaken first-half penalty from Nicolas Pepe would be enough for Nice.
The visitors lost their opening chances as Pepe was dismissed for offside and Sophian Diop was out of good position.
Nicolas Tagliafico accepted a penalty for the handball but Pepe saw a spot kick saved by Anthony Lopes. However, López was penalized for drifting from his line and Pepe took his second chance to break the deadlock in the 38th.
Pepe flashed a shot wide from the far post at the start of the second half, then Lyon eventually started to threaten.
Lacazette’s late penalty took Lyon’s goal this season to nine. This put Lyon in eighth place, one point ahead of Nice.
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