PARIS: A first-half goal by Jonathan David earned Lille a 1-0 victory at Stade Rennais as the northerners stayed level on points with Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain on Sunday.
Striker David found the back of the net on 16 minutes to put Lille, who have won their last three games, on 45 points from 21 matches, behind PSG on goal difference. The result left Rennes on 36 points from 21 games.
Third-placed Olympique Lyonnais are two points behind PSG and Lille after they demolished arch-rivals St Etienne 5-0 away thanks to two carbon copy headers from Brazilian Marcelo, another brace from Tino Kadewere and a Denis Bouanga own goal.
At the Roazhon Park, Lille started well as David scored from close range after goalkeeper Romain Salin had tipped a corner into the Canadian’s path.
The visitors had a penalty ruled out by the VAR as David was offside when he was fouled by Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd in the 24th minute.
Rennes took no risks for fear of Lille’s counter attacks and Christophe Galtier’s side comfortably held off the hosts in the second half. At Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne were missing 10 players who tested positive for Covid-19 and Les Verts were no match for Lyon.
After Kadewere struck from close range in the 15th following Memphis Depay’s corner, Marcelo headed home in the 35th and 58th from free kicks taken by right back Leo Dubois.
Kadewere rubbed salt in St Etienne’s wounds with a left-footed effort in the 68th minute, after being set up again by Depay, for his ninth goal of the season.
Things got even worse for St Etienne when Denis Bouanga deflected Depay’s free kick into his own net with eight minutes left.
Girondins Bordeaux sit in seventh on 32 points after an early brace from South Korea striker Hwang Ui-Jo powered them to a 2-1 home win over Angers.
Raymond Domenech is still waiting for his first win as Nantes coach after falling to his first defeat with his new club, 2-0 at Metz. Nantes sit a point behind St Etienne in 17th after a 12th successive match without a win.
Also, Reims beat Brest 1-0, while Dijon and Strasbourg played to a 1-1 draw.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021