Hazard snatches late win for Lille

An injury-time goal from Belgian starlet Eden Hazard gave Lille a 2-1 win at home to northern neighbours Valenciennes on Sunday that sent them three points clear at the top of the table.

The 20-year-old winger received a pass from Rio Mavuba and cracked a low shot into the bottom-left corner in the 91st minute, after Moussa Sow's first-half opener for the hosts had been cancelled out by Gregory Pujol.

The result takes Lille three points above second-place Rennes and four points clear of Lyon and Marseille, while Paris Saint-Germain are eight points off the pace prior to the visit of Montpellier later today.

"I've scored two lovely goals," said Hazard, who also scored a spectacular opening goal for Lille in their 2-1 win at Marseille last weekend. "So much the better for me and the team. They're two very important goals. We'll go to Brest (next weekend) with a three-point lead."

Playing for the first time on their freshly laid pitch at Stadium Lille-Metropole, Lille saw Sow squander a straightforward chance to put his side ahead in the 22nd minute. The league's top scorer was picked out in space, eight yards from goal, by Hazard but swept a lazy shot several metres over the crossbar.

Sow streak continues
Sow atoned six minutes before half-time, however, with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area that took a deflection off Milan Bisevac and span into the top-right corner of Nicolas Penneteau's goal. It was his 18th league goal of the season.

Valenciennes had shown little as an attacking force but they drew level in the 59th minute when Pujol ran onto a Renaud Cohade pass and drove the ball into the bottom-right corner. Pierre-Alain Frau was given a clear sight of goal by a Hazard pass moments later but he lifted his left-foot shot over the top.

A disappointing draw beckoned, but Hazard showed impressive sang-froid to earn his team victory, finding a pocket of space inside the crowded Valenciennes box and drilling in a low shot off the left-hand post.