Lille substitute Benoit Pedretti equalized four minutes after coming on to salvage a 1-1 home draw for the lackluster French champions against plucky promoted side Evian on Saturday.
The 12th-placed visitors had taken a shock fourth-minute lead when Tunisian Saber Khalifa struck after the home defense was caught out by an unthreatening-looking through ball.
Lille struggled to assert their authority, but finally broke through just after the hour, when midfielder Pedretti netted with a superb 35m free kick.
The draw left the stuttering northeast club in third spot after 13 games, five adrift of leaders Paris St Germain, who were to visit Girondins Bordeaux on yesterday.
Coach Rudi Garcia has complained about an unfair fixture list having played derby rivals Valenciennes (0-0) last Sunday and lost 2-1 against Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday before facing Evian in Saturday’s only Ligue 1 game.
His side looked lethargic at times, with Englishman Joe Cole, employed in the hole rather than his usual position on the wing, having an effort ruled out for offside, but otherwise struggling to shine.