Ligue 1 - Lille respond to European pain

Sun, 11 Dec 22:08:00 2011

Lille recovered from their Champions League exit to beat Dijon 2-0 and move two points behind the French leaders while Lyon failed to hit the heights of midweek but still won 1-0 at Lorient on Sunday.

Eden Hazard - 0

Ligue 1 champions Lille, whose 0-0 draw with Trabzonspor on Wednesday sent them out of Europe, closed the gap on Montpellier after the south coast side lost 1-0 at lowly Valenciennes on Saturday.

Moussa Sow's close-range header on 16 minutes gave third-placed Lille the lead as they returned to their Metropole stadium with renewed purpose.

Winger Eden Hazard made it 2-0 early in the second half following a well-worked move involving Sow and Joe Cole as Lille racked up a 16th domestic game unbeaten.

Sow and Cole - with an acrobatic volley - both also hit the post amid a cacophony of singing from the home fans but promoted Dijon had their moments, striking the woodwork and having an effort cleared off the line.

Second-placed Paris St Germain, who won 1-0 at Sochaux on Saturday to go level on points with Montpellier after 17 games, host Lille next Sunday.

"I set a goal to win against Dijon, to show that we had moved on," Lille coach Rudi Garcia told reporters.

"The aim now is to put in a big performance in Paris and do everything possible to take maximum points at the Parc des Princes. We will be very ambitious. Afterwards, we'll see what pans out."

Lyon, who performed a near miracle in making the Champions League knockout stages in midweek by thumping Dinamo Zagreb 7-1 away, overcame a more stubborn Lorient thanks to Alexandre Lacazette's angled shot along the floor on 54 minutes.

Mid-table Lorient, managed by Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff's father Christian, had matched their visitors in the first period but suffered a rare home defeat as Remi Garde's fourth-placed side went two points behind Lille.

In Sunday's other match, Auxerre beat fellow strugglers Nice 2-1.

Reuters

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