Montpellier blow title-race wide open
Younes Belhanda's goal in the closing stages inflicted a first Ligue 1 defeat in almost four months on table-topping Lille, as it finished 1-0.
Montpellier were good value for their win and had a shout for a penalty in the first half as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa went down under Franck Beria's challenge. Lille were reprieved on that occasion but the breakthrough came seven minutes from time as Belhanda sealed a win which lifts Montpellier within five points of the European places.
The leaders had an early chance to take the lead when Eden Hazard's cross eluded Gervinho and Moussa Sow, following in beyond the back post, was just unable to force his effort on target. But Montpellier got on top as the half went on, Marco Estrada first to threaten when his free-kick was beaten away by keeper Mickael Landreau.
Beria's heart was in his mouth when a clumsy challenge off balance ended Yanga-Mbiwa's run into the box, but referee Tony Chapron ruled he had got just enough on the ball and waved away Montpellier's appeals. Estrada curled wide from 20 yards shortly before half-time and was also at the centre of the hosts' attacks early in the second half.
Firstly his free-kick found Belhanda, who headed wide, and then Estrada himself was on target with a weak shot which Landreau gathered despite losing his footing. Tulio De Melo's effort at the other end lacked the power to cause keeper Geoffrey Jourdren any alarms.
And Belhanda was able to settle the match in Montpellier's favour when he linked up well with Souleymane Camara on the counter-attack and was on hand to convert the Senegal forward's return pass.