Ligue One Roundup, Mar. 28
Lille crushed Montpellier 4-1 on Sunday to move closer to a
Champions League berth and deny its opponent the chance of going
top of the French league.
Goals from Gervinho, Yohan Cabaye, Pierre-Alain Frau and Larsen Toure secured a win that moved Lille up to fourth, just two points behind leader Bordeaux.
Belgian teenager Eden Hazard had a hand in three of Lille's goals, dribbling past two Montpellier players before slipping a through ball to Gervinho, who rounded goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren to score his 12th goal this season after 16 minutes.
"We have all the cards in our hands to achieve something great this season," Hazard told Canal Plus television. "We realize with such performances that we can go even higher."
Hazard nearly set up another goal with a backheel pass in the 32nd minute but Jourdren stopped Cabaye's half-volley.
Montpellier equalized against the run of play in the 47th, Souleymane Camara picking his spot from 25 meters to fire a powerful strike into the top corner.
But Lille, with the league's most prolific attack, piled on the pressure and restored its lead when Cabaye converted a penalty in the 54th after he was fouled by Garry Bocaly.
Then Hazard skipped past a defender to cut the ball back for Frau, who struck a shot under the crossbar for a 3-1 lead.
The Belgian prodigy also initiated his team's fourth goal as Toure pounced on his pass, which deflected off a defender's leg, to side-foot the ball home in the 79th minute.
Lille climbed to fourth place with 54 points from 30 matches. Bordeaux leads the league with 56 points and has two games in hand. Montpellier is in second place, level on points with Bordeaux, followed by Auxerre with 55 points.
"We allowed three goals against Liverpool and three against Bordeaux, so we had to react and we did it well," Hazard said.
Lille lost 3-0 at Liverpool and 3-1 at Bordeaux in its two previous matches.
Also Sunday, it was: Le Mans 1, Rennes 3; Lorient 4, Saint-Etienne 0; Toulouse 0, Nice 2; Paris Saint-Germain 3, Boulogne 0; and Nancy 5, Lens 1.
Jimmy Briand scored twice to keep alive Rennes' hopes of a European spot.
Guinea forward Ismael Bangoura put Rennes ahead with a penalty in the 51st minute after goalkeeper Didier Ovono had fouled Sylvain Marveaux.
Mathieu Dossevi leveled for Le Mans in the 58th with a low shot, but Briand restored Rennes' lead with a header in the 74th before sealing the win by chipping Ovono in the 86th.
Rennes earned its fourth straight victory to stay in seventh place with 49 points, narrowing the gap with the leading teams.
Le Mans remained in the relegation zone with 21 points.
In Lorient, Morgan Amalfitano opened the scoring off a pass from Kevin Gameiro in the 34th minute.
Gameiro then beat the offside trap in the 37th to collect a chipped pass from Amalfitano and poke the ball home.
Sebastian Dubarbier increased Lorient's lead with a curling shot in the 48th before Gameiro notched his 12th goal this season in the 73rd. The win moved Lorient into eighth place with 46 points.
In Toulouse, Anthony Mounier put Nice ahead in the 40th minute and his side were helped in the 56th by a red card for Toulouse midfielder Fode Mansare following a violent tackle on Tunisia forward Chaouki Ben Saada.
Eric Mouloungui made it 2-0 by nodding in a cross from Mounier in the 84th.
PSG's victory in Paris against 10-man Boulogne was secured behind closed doors as punishment for crowd trouble during a match against Marseille last season.
It was the third time this season that PSG had played in an empty stadium, with the last time following the death of a fan after fighting among PSG supporters in February.
Ludovic Giuly charged down the right wing before linking up with Benin playmaker Stephane Sessegnon, whose strike was deflected by defender Anthony Lecointe into his own net in the 26th minute.
Boulogne was reduced to 10 men two minutes later after Bakary Soumare fouled Guillaume Hoarau, who was clean through on goal.
Hoarau doubled PSG's lead by converting a penalty in the 33rd after Mateja Kezman was fouled inside the area.
Kezman added a third goal for mid-table PSG in the 80th following a pass from Clement Chantome.
In Nancy, Issiar Dia scored a hat-trick for the home side.
Dia started out by flicking the ball home in the 42nd minute after Lens goalkeeper Vedran Runje had fumbled a catch. Julien Feret then played Dia in and the Senegalese forward beat Runje with a low shot on the stroke of halftime.
Youssouf Hadji raised his tally to nine goals on the hour mark before Dia scored on a counterattack in the 61st and Pascal Berenguer made it 5-0 in the 68th.
Issam Jemaa notched a consolation goal for Lens from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
On Saturday, Marseille ended its 17-year title drought by beating Bordeaux 3-1 in the French League Cup final. It was Marseille's first trophy since it won the Champions League in 1993.
Meanwhile, Lyon beat last-place Grenoble 2-0 to make up ground in the chase for a European spot. Lyon moved into fifth place with 54 points from 30 games.
On Monday, Monaco hosts Auxerre.