Lille climbed six points clear of title rivals Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Ligue 1 on Friday with a tight 2-0 win at Metz, Reuters can report.
They now lead the French top flight with 69 points from 32 games while PSG have 63, Monaco 62 and Lyon 61 ahead of their catch up games this weekend.
Turkish veteran striker Burak Yilmaz got the opener on the hour and compatriot Zeki Celik scrambled home a second at the death after Lille ‘keeper Mike Maignan had saved an early Metz penalty.
“We had a very sluggish start to the match,” admitted Lille coach Christophe Galtier.
“We struggled to get the ball out. The desire to do well made us rush and we were wasteful. Mike kept us in the game by stopping the penalty.”
Yilmaz showed great experience, wrong footing the Metz ‘keeper and shooting hard and low inside the near post to score.
And as they dug deep Celik scrambled home a corner on 89 minutes to provide a harsh scoreline for the hosts.
Maignan saved a 17th-minute penalty, diving low to turn Aaron Leya Iseka’s spot-kick round the post.
This came after John Boye’s volley for Metz was goal-bound but stopped on the line by defender Jose Fonte, who raised an arm to protect his face.
After an impressive 3-2 Champions League win at Bayern Munich midweek, Paris Saint-Germain now play Strasbourg on Saturday hoping to keep up their push for a fourth straight title.
Monaco host Dijon and Lyon welcome Angers.
Christophe Galtier’s Lille emerged as strong contenders last weekend by stunning PSG in the capital.
Lille were second in Ligue 1 to PSG in 2019 and last season, when the championship was curtailed due to the pandemic, they came fourth.