French Ligue One Roundup, Dec. 20
Eighteen-year-old sensation Eden Hazard scored a goal and set up
two in Lille's 3-0 victory over Le Mans on Sunday in the French
The victory allowed Lille to leapfrog Montpellier and move into third place with 31 points, one clear of fourth-place Lyon which drew with Monaco 1-1.
"Tonight, the match was almost over at halftime," Hazard said. "But we know that a season is very long and that we'll go through hard times. So let's enjoy this moment."
Meanwhile, Toulouse split the points with Auxerre in a 1-1 draw.
Bordeaux routed Lorient 4-1 on Saturday to earn the unofficial title of winter champion at the season's halfway stage. Bordeaux tops the standings with 40 points from 18 matches, eight clear of second-place Marseille which has a game in hand.
In Lille, Cameroon international Aurelien Chedjou headed in a free kick from Hazard to put the host team ahead in the 12th minute.
Lille nearly doubled the lead two minutes later but Florent Balmont's penalty kick crashed against the bar after Ibrahima Camara had fouled Ivory Coast forward Gervinho.
Belgium international Hazard then passed to Gervinho, who cut inside Joao Paulo Andrade and poked the ball home in the 27th to take his goal tally to nine for the season and make it 2-0.
Hazard added a third with a solo run from the center circle just two minutes later, dribbling past three defenders before beating goalkeeper Didier Ovono.
Lille stretched its winning streak in the league to five games while Le Mans slipped into the relegation zone with 15 points.
In Monaco, Brazilian midfielder Michel Bastos opened the scoring for Lyon midway through the first half with a 25-meter free kick that dipped into the far corner.
The visitors came close to a second when Bastos hoisted the ball into the box and Cris then played Jean Makoun in but goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier saved the Cameroon midfielder's header with his right foot.
Shortly thereafter, a mistake from Hugo Lloris helped Monaco equalize 10 minutes before halftime. The France goalkeeper went for a high ball but Monaco fullback Djimi Traore beat him to it with a bicycle kick. Traore's cross bounced off Lyon winger Sidney Govou's head before South Korea forward Park Chu-Young volleyed into an empty net.
From then on it was Monaco who created all the chances.
Park fed Alejandro Alonso with a backheel pass in the 40th but Lloris palmed away the Argentine midfielder's close-range strike.
On the stroke of halftime, a side-footed flick from Park sailed inches wide.
The result is a blow for Lyon's title hopes as it now trails Bordeaux by ten points. Monaco is in 12th place with 26.
"It's not a very good result," Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons told Canal Plus television. "We wanted to come and win here to climb back to second place."
Play was suspended for a couple of minutes in the first half after police fired tear gas into the stands to quiet Lyon fans.
In Auxerre, Roy Contout salvaged a last-gasp draw for the home team.
Daniel Niculae diverted a cross from Dennis Oliech toward the far post where Contout flicked the ball home.
Brazilian midfielder Luan scored for Toulouse on a counterattack in the 20th, tapping in a cross from Daniel Braaten.
Toulouse midfielder Etienne Didot was sent off four minutes from time for picking up a second yellow card.
Auxerre slipped to seventh place with 29 points while Toulouse fell to 13th place with 25 points.
Also Saturday, it was: Saint-Etienne 0, Marseille 0; Montpellier 0, Nancy 2; Valenciennes 0, Lens 0; Rennes 1, Paris Saint-Germain 0; Grenoble 1, Nice 1.
The match pitting Boulogne against Sochaux was postponed because of heavy snowfalls.