Ligue 1

Lille fails to hold three-goal lead

Lille's forward Salomon Kalou scored twice against Ligue 1 side Sochaux on Friday night.
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LILLE, France (AP)

Lille threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Sochaux in the French league on Friday and miss an opportunity to get back in the race for a Champions League spot.

Salomon Kalou opened the scoring with a low drive in the 26th minute and doubled the lead from close range on the strike of halftime. Montenegro defender Marko Basa made it 3-0 with a header in the 48th before Sochaux center back Cedric Kante pulled one back in the 79th.

Midfielder Vincent Nogueira then scored twice from free kicks in the 84th and the 87th to salvage a draw for Sochaux.

''We don't have the right to concede such goals while dominating the match,'' Lille defender Aurelien Chedjou said. ''There are four matches left. It will be very difficult to recover from this result.''

Lille remained fifth, two points behind third-place Lyon. Despite the draw, Sochaux stayed 18th but went level on points with Evian and Nancy which are out of the relegation zone.

Lille outplayed Sochaux in the first half and could have reached halftime with a bigger lead.

Kalou put the hosts ahead by cutting inside to beat goalkeeper Simon Pouplin from 20 yards. Pouplin then parried a close-range header from Basa in the 37th and was lucky to see a free kick from Lille midfielder Marvin Martin bounce off the bar in the 43rd.

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Kalou notched his 10th league goal this season by capitalizing on a poor clearance from the Sochaux defense to slam a diagonal shot into the top corner. Basa made it 3-0 shortly after the restart by heading home a loose ball after Ronny Rodelin had a goal attempt blocked by the Sochaux defense.

Pouplin saved Sochaux from further humiliation by tipping over a long-range strike from Martin in the 59th and stopping a low effort from Lille substitute Nolan Roux in the 71st.

Kante then started the comeback for the visitors by sliding home a free kick in the 79th, and Lille paid a hefty price for conceding set pieces as Nogueira fired through the wall to convert an indirect free kick and cut Lille's lead to 3-2.

Despite slipping, the Sochaux midfielder curled inside the near post another free kick for the equalizer.

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