Tue, Apr 01, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Lille, Saint-Etienne close in on Monaco


AS Saint-Etienne’s Mevlut Erding, second right, scores past Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, right, in their Ligue 1 match in Lyon, France, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

LOSC Lille Metropole edged En Avant de Guingamp 1-0 to pull within six points of second-placed AS Monaco in Ligue 1, despite a mediocre performance on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, AS Saint-Etienne kept pace with Lille in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot by defeating Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 and Stade Rennais thrashed SC Bastia 3-0 to move closer to securing safety.

Lille centerback Marko Basa redirected a corner toward Salomon Kalou, who flicked home the winner in the second minute of stoppage-time for his 11th league goal this season.

“We struggle each time we face a team parking the bus,” Kalou said. “We don’t find the solutions.”

Guingamp had three clear-cut chances in the second half, but failed to convert them.

Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama denied striker Mustapha Yatabare in the 52nd minute and parried a volley from midfielder Fatih Atik in the 55th. Christophe Mandanne then rounded Enyeama in the 60th minute, but centerback Simon Kjaer rushed back to clear off the line.

At the Stade de Gerland, Max-Alain Gradel gave Saint-Etienne the victory in a heated Rhone derby.

The Saint-Etienne substitute converted a rebound in the 74th minute after goalkeeper Anthony Lopes palmed a cross from Renaud Cohade into his path.

“I’m so happy for the supporters,” Gradel said. “We made it for them because for years they’ve been humiliated. Today, we want to thank them with this victory.”

Saint-Etienne opened the scoring in the 28th minute when Brazilian forward Brandao knocked a high ball down for Mevlut Erding, who beat Lopes from close range.

Bafetimbi Gomis helped the hosts equalize in the 39th minute by dribbling past two defenders to send a ball over the top to Alexandre Lacazette. The Lyon striker volleyed into the bottom corner for his 14th league goal this season.

A physical Saint-Etienne side kept Yoann Gourcuff quiet. The Lyon playmaker was replaced at halftime after picking up an ankle injury following a tackle from Cohade, who received a yellow card.

In Rennes, the hosts took the lead in the 14th minute with a powerful strike from Romain Alessandrini which goalkeeper Mickael Landreau fumbled into his own net.

Sweden forward Ola Toivonen fired a half-volley into the top corner to double the lead in the 28th minute and set up midfielder Jean Makoun for the third in the 59th.

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