- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

PARIS (AP) - Midfielder Yoann Gourcuff continued his fine recent form by scoring one goal and helping to set up another as Lyon beat Marseille 2-1 to reach the League Cup semifinals on Wednesday.

After a difficult start to the season, Gourcuff has scored three goals in the past five games and is pushing for a recall to the France team. He gave Lyon the lead in the 24th minute when he reacted quickly to stab the ball in after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda fumbled Clement Grenier’s swerving free kick from 35 meters.

Bafetimbi Gomis scored from close range in the 74th to put Lyon in control, but a careless penalty gave Marseille a lifeline in the 89th, and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac converted.

In other games, second-division Troyes beat Evian 3-1 and Nantes beat Nice 4-3. Paris Saint-Germain won 3-1 at Bordeaux on Tuesday.

In the semifinals, Nantes faces PSG and Lyon takes on Troyes.

“It was important to avoid PSG, who are a level above,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said.

Last month, Marseille rallied from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Lyon in Ligue 1.

“We’d already gone through that a few weeks ago in the league, and they came back into it once again at the end,” Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons said. “But we held firm and we deserved to qualify.”

After Gourcuff had opened the scoring, Lyon went close to making it 2-0 when striker Gomis used his upper-body strength to shrug off two defenders and hit a low shot just past the post.

Marseille coach welcomed back midfielder Mathieu Valbuena from injury and the France international came off the bench to replace Dimitri Payet midway through the second half. Top scorer Gignac did not start the game because of a slight muscle twinge and was sent on five minutes after Valbuena.

However, it was Lyon who scored again with a well-worked team goal.

Forward Alexandre Lacazette turned away from the two defenders and passed the ball to Gourcuff, who instantly returned it with a brilliantly weighted touch, allowing Lacazette to set Gomis up for an easy finish.

Marseille found a way back into the match just at the very end.

Substitute Jimmy Briand feigned to go for a header and instead flicked the ball away with his hand just as Marseille center-half Nicolas N’Koulou was just about to head it. Gignac showed good composure to send goalie Anthony Lopes the wrong way.

The second half was tense and tempers finally spilled over shortly after Gignac’s penalty as Lyon center-half Samuel Umtiti hacked down winger Florian Thauvin and, when Thauvin rushed over to confront him, Umtiti rolled around theatrically on the floor clutching his face. Several players ran in to join the melee as others tried to restore the peace.

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