Hazard strikes Lille past Nancy
Lille moved provisionally four points clear at the Ligue 1 summit thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Nancy.
Eden Hazard scored the game's only goal from a free-kick on the stroke of half-time to keep Lille firmly in the driving seat as the season reaches its climax. The win gave Lille a healthy cushion over second-placed Marseille, who visit Lyon tomorrow night.
The leaders started brightly and could have gone ahead in the first minute following a swift counter-attack led by Hazard. He combined with Mathieu Debuchy, who crossed for Tulio de Melo, but Damien Gregorini saved his header.
Nancy's first real sight of goal arrived in the 24th minute, but Mickael Landreau was more than equal to Julien Feret's 30-yard free-kick.
Lille were enjoying success on the counter-attack and again tested Gregorini just before the half-hour, the Nancy goalkeeper getting his angles right to keep out Gervinho's strike after he had been freed by Hazard.
The breakthrough arrived in first-half stoppage time when Hazard wrong-footed Gregorini with a fierce free-kick after he had been fouled by Landry N'Guemo. The goal spurred Nancy to life after the interval, though, and they had the better second-half chances, but were unable to take advantage.
Reynald Lemaitre did well down the left and crossed towards substitute Benjamin Jeannot in the 54th minute, but Landreau was on hand to keep Lille ahead. Feret combined with Jonathan Brison 14 minutes from time, the latter bursting through the middle before firing in a left-footed shot which Landreau amazingly managed to tip around the post for a corner when he looked beaten.
Andre Luiz then headed wide from Brison's corner before an unmarked Youssouf Hadji found himself through with just Landreau to beat, but blasted his effort off target.