Kalou leads Lille past Bastia
Bordeaux came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Valenciennes 2-1 and stretch its winning run in the French league to four matches on Sunday, while Lille bounced back from its first defeat in 12 matches to beat Bastia 2-1.
Bordeaux had dominated the first half but Valenciennes took the lead against the run of play in the 55th minute when Tongo Doumbia headed in Mathieu Dossevi’s corner.
But Jussie leveled three minutes later with a penalty after Landry N’Guemo had been fouled by Benjamin Angoua.
Valenciennes was awarded a penalty of its own in the 65th minute when Henrique barged over Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, but Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso saved Eloge Enza Yamissi’s spot kick.
Nicolas Maurice-Belay scored what was to prove the winner in the 73rd, with a low drive into the bottom left corner.
”I had a bit of a feeling before he hit it but I didn’t know if it was a good one or not,” Carrasso said about the saved penalty. ”But I said to myself, `if you want to be fourth tonight, you have to save the penalty.’
”I concentrated a lot then I made my decision and it was a good one. Often when a penalty is saved people say that it wasn’t hit well, but I still stopped it.”
Bordeaux moved provisionally into fourth place, nine points behind third-place Lille. Valenciennes is five points from safety.
Lille was looking to recover from a 1-0 defeat at Bordeaux, which had ended a run of three successive wins and 11 clean sheets.
Bastia had not won at Lille since 1996 but went in front in the third minute when Ludovic Genest, who was making his first Ligue 1 appearance in more than six years, controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed home from 25 meters.
But Lille took the lead thanks to two goals in three minutes from Salomon Kalou, who had not scored in 757 minutes.
The Ivory Coast striker grabbed his first in the 19th minute, collecting the ball from Nolan Roux before switching feet to round Bastia defender Sebastien Squillaci and fire into the far corner.
Kalou doubled his tally with a curling shot in under the bar and thought he had a hat trick shortly before halftime but it was harshly ruled out for offside.
”It was about time I scored, it had been a bit long,” Kalou said. ”When you are a striker, it annoys you when your team wins and you don’t score. I never doubted myself but it started to play in my mind a bit. But I also had the help of my teammates and the coach always showed me he had confidence in me.”