Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard produced a scintillating performance to inspire Lille to a 2-1 home win over Monaco on Sunday and top spot in Ligue 1.
Hazard, voted the league’s best prospect in the last two seasons, was a constant threat in a one-sided game, setting up Pierre-Alain Frau and Ludovic Obraniak either side of the interval.
Olympique Lyonnais kept their title hopes alive when a Bafetimbi Gomis double gave them a 3-1 win at Lens in the late match.
An Anthony Modeste hat-trick lifted Girondins de Bordeaux to a 4-2 win at bottom club Arles-Avignon, but Lille made the headlines with a powerful attacking performance.
Frau was set up by Hazard’s backheel and fired a skimming shot past goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier seven minutes before -halftime, but the home side dozed off early in the second half when Frau failed to clear a free-kick and Adriano leveled with a spectacular overhead-kick.
The home side were stung into action and Yohan Cabaye chipped a floated free-kick which struck Ruffier’s left post.
Mathieu Debuchy unleashed a powerful low shot that was parried by Ruffier into Moussa Sow’s feet, but the forward skied his attempt over the bar with the goal gaping.
Hazard beat three defenders on the right flank, before setting up Obraniak with a back pass for the Poland midfielder to beat Ruffier from just inside the box 14 minutes from time.
Monaco defender Laurent Bonnart acknowledged that Hazard had made the difference.
“He is a great player, he is able to see off a few defenders in the blink of an eye,” he told Foot Plus.
At Lens’ Stade Felix Bollaert, Lyon survived a poor first half to grab three points and move up to eighth, only two points off Lille.
The visitors were nowhere to be seen before the break and Kanga Akale’s opener was fully deserved for a Lens side who were on a five-match unbeaten run, but France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez came off the bench to make all the difference.
With Lisandro troubling the Lens defense, Gomis found -himself unmarked and leveled with a superb volley in the 64th minute.
The striker doubled his tally nine minutes later, heading home a Gourcuff cross, and Lisandro put the result beyond doubt one minute from time.
The result left Lens in 19th place on 14 points.
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