PARIS (AFP) - Lyon romped past Nancy 3-1 on Saturday to overtake reigning champions Bordeaux at the top of the French first division.
French international and former St Etienne striker Batefembi Gomis fired Lyon into a 37th-minute lead and in-form Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez, having combined with Miralem Pjanic to lay on the opener, clipped home a second five minutes after the restart.
Youssouf Hadji gave Nancy hope when he reduced the arrears six minutes later but a swerving rocket from Manuel Bastos secured Lyon's third win in four games with 22 minutes left, suggesting they have every intention of landing an eighth title in the past nine seasons after Bordeaux snapped their streak last May.
Lyon moved onto 10 points from four games, one clear of Bordeaux, who must travel to Marseille on Sunday for one of the Girondins' trickiest fixtures of the campaign in the cauldron of the Stade Velodrome.
On the day predecessor Karim Benzema made his first league start for Real Madrid Lopez, already instrumental in taking the French outfit into the Champions League group stage at the expense of Anderlecht, showed Lyon fans he is perfectly capable of filling the France striker's boots with his smartly-taken goal.
And his all-round play had the home crowd purring with appreciation, setting aside pre-season worries that a substantially-revamped team might not gel immediately.
Bastos scotched such worries.
"We are settling down and getting to know each other well - we have to keep on like this," Bastos told French television.
On his goal, he explained he had been demanding more of the ball beforehand and noted with a satisfied smile: "That's one of my best ever goals - though I've hit a few in my time."
The match between Nice and Montpellier was earlier halted for 20 minutes after visiting fans threw flares onto the pitch from the away end, an AFP reporter at the ground said.
Referee Laurent Duhamel sent the teams to the dressing room on the hour but play resumed some 20 minutes later after police had intervened and detained several fans in the terrace concerned.
Montpellier, who were leading 2-0 at the time, won 3-0 to move provisionally third on eight points, one behind Bordeaux.
Marseille, held at Rennes last weekend, are provisionally joint fourth with Paris St Germain, who face Lille at the Parc des Princes in another Sunday game which will be a pointer to the capital club's chances of ending a 15-season league title drought.
St Etienne finally got off the mark at home to modest Grenoble with Christophe Landrin scoring the only goal of the game midway through the first half.
St Etienne coach, former Portsmouth handler Alain Perrin, breathed a barely-concealed sigh of relief.
"Of course this is a welcome win which is handsome reward for the hard work the players put in during the week," he said.
"We missed a few chances but having conceded six goals in three matches we kept a clean sheet this evening. You have to look at the plus points."
Elsewhere, promoted Lens continued their solid start, building on two victories for one loss with a 2-2 home draw with Rennes at the Stade Bollaert.
Monaco in contrast lost touch with the top third of the table after a Vaclav Sverkos penalty was sufficient to give Sochaux a 1-0 victory over the principality side.
Auxerre and Boulogne parted goalless in a battle of two strugglers.
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