Debuchy strike gives Lille hope
A late goal by right-back Mathieu Debuchy gave Lille a 1-0 win at Lorient, which moves them to within eight points of leaders Paris Saint-Germain and kept their faltering title defence alive.
Lille had won just four of their previous 11 games in all competitions and were beaten 5-4 by Bordeaux in an extraordinary game last weekend, but Debuchy's goal gives them the edge in the battle for the third UEFA Champions League place.
The champions are seven points behind second-placed Montpellier but enjoy a three-point lead over fourth-placed Lyon and fifth-placed Rennes, both of whom play tomorrow.
"It's a real satisfaction not to concede a goal and to win with a good old-fashioned 1-0," said Lille coach Rudi Garcia, whose team visit Sochaux in a postponed game on Wednesday. "The match deserved more goals, particularly for Lorient, but Micka [Landreau] was extraordinary. It's a great victory."
The visitors had the best of a high-quality first half at Stade du Moustoir, but Franck Beria was unable to convert a pinpoint cross from Joe Cole and Debuchy saw a close-range effort denied by Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
Lorient had their moments too, however. Beria was fortunate not to concede a penalty for tugging Ladislas Douniama to the ground, while goalkeeper Mickael Landreau was fully extended by a free-kick from Arnold Mvuemba.
The second half was largely bereft of goal-mouth incident until Debuchy struck in the 76th minute, latching on to Benoit Pedretti's dinked pass and squeezing a low shot in off the near post for his fifth goal of the season.