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Nicolas N’Koulou finally returns to Lyon starting XI

21:30 GMT+4 24/04/2017
Nicolas N'Koulou Marseille
The Nations Cup hero has finally made his return to Les Gones' starting XI in Ligue 1 after a five-month absence

Cameroon defender Nicolas N’Koulou finally returned to the starting line-up in a league game for Olympique Lyonnais when he started in their 2-1 defeat by Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

N’Koulou had lost his place at the heart of OL’s back four after the Nations Cup in Gabon earlier this year, and has struggled to break back into the side.

The 27-year-old was roped back into the starting line-up for the first time since 22 November 2016 - where he featured in a Uefa Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb - in Lyon’s abandoned fixture against Bastia a week ago, but he kept his place and produced a superb performance in midweek against Besiktas in the Europa League.

Bruno Genesio restored N’Koulou to the team's’ starting lineup again on Sunday and the Central African stopper impressed albeit in defeat.

Upon his return from the Afcon, N’Koulou knew it was going to be a tough task to regain his place in Genesio's first XI, and as a result, he asked to be excused from Cameroon’s recent friendlies against Tunisia and Guinea.

Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe were the scorers for the hosts, with Lucas Tousart responding for OL.