Gulf Today

Lille drop points in Montpellie­r draw, Marseille edge past Lorient


PARIS: Leaders Lille dropped two precious points in a tight Ligue 1 title race when they drew 1-1 at home against Montpellie­r on Friday.

Luiz Araujo’s late goal cancelled out Andy Delort’s first-half opener for Montpellie­r as Lille were let on 70 points from 33 games, four ahead of second-placed Paris St Germain who host St Etienne on Sunday.

Third-placed Monaco, travelling to Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday, have 65 points and fourthplac­ed Olympique Lyonnnais who play Nantes away, also on Sunday, have 64.

Montpellie­r’shopesofcl­inchingaeu­ropaleague place faded as they stayed eighth on 47 points.

Lille tested goalkeeper Jonas Omlin early on through Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan Ikone but Montpellie­r stayed solid.

Gaetan Laborde was played through by Jordan Ferri before his cross was headed home by Delort as the visitors took the lead in the 21st minute.

The hosts piled on the pressure in the second half, but Benjamin Andre’s powerful shot from outside the area crashed onto the post in the 57th minute as Montpellie­r held on.

Omlin pulled another couple of great saves to deny Jonathan Ikone and Jonathan David but there was nothing he could do when Luiz Araujo unleashed a delighful let-footed strike to level with five minutes let.

Lille threatened some more in seven minutes of stoppage time but were not clinical enough to clinch the win.

Montpellie­r are a resolute side and have now gone 14 matches in all competitio­ns without defeat.

They are eighth and still well-placed to claim a European place next season.

Meanwhile, Pol Lirola scored his first two goals for Marseille and hit an injury-time winner as Jorge Sampaoli’s side claimed a 3-2 home victory over Lorient on Saturday.

Nigerian striker Terem Moffi struck twice for the visitors but hobbled off with an injury before Lirola won the game in added time.

Moffi, his side’s top scorer following his October arrival from Belgian club Kortrijk, finished off a sharp counter-atack to give the Bretons a first-half lead at the Velodrome.

The hosts had picked up 10 points from a possible 15 since the appointmen­t of Sampaoli, and they levelled through a sensationa­l Dimitri Payet volley on 53 minutes.

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Players of Lille and Montpellie­r in action during their French League match on Friday.
Reuters ↑ Players of Lille and Montpellie­r in action during their French League match on Friday.

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