Lille beat Montpellier 2-0, strengthen grip on third

AP, PARIS

Tue, Mar 11, 2014 - Page 19

Centerback Marko Basa and striker Nolan Roux scored a goal each as LOSC Lille Metropole beat Montpellier Herault 2-0 on Sunday to strengthen their grip on third place in Ligue 1.

At Grande Stade Lille Metropole, Basa rose to powerfully head in Florent Balmont’s free-kick in the 19th minute, while Roux got his seventh league goal this season in the 58th after performing an acrobatic volley of centerback David Rozehnal’s crossbar-deflected header.

“We’re back on the front foot. We’ve been playing for a while now, but there was always missing something,” Lille coach Rene Girard said. “It’s probably our best team performance of the year — there was more movement, more teamwork.”

The win gives Lille some breathing room after fourth-placed AS Saint-Etienne fell four points behind les Dogues following a 1-0 loss at midtable Lorient on Sunday courtesy of forward Jeremie Aliadiere, who netted a last-minute penalty after midfielder Joshua Guilavogui handled the ball.

“I’m disappointed because the team worked hard for a draw,” Guilavogui said. “It’s tough for me because I cost my team a point, but that’s part of football, I hope that in the weeks to come I will help my team get some points.”

Saint-Etienne had lost only one of their past 11 games, but rode their luck before Aliadiere scored as moments earlier, ’keeper Stephane Ruffier saved midfielder Sadio Diallo’s header and, from the rebound, Diallo headed again, only for leftback Benoit Tremoulinas to clear the ball off the line.

Saint-Etienne will be looking over their shoulder now for bitter rivals Olympique Lyonnais, who secured a dramatic 2-1 win away to Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday to move up to fifth, three points behind les Verts.

In Bordeaux, midfielder Corentin Tolisso rose brilliantly to head in Maxime Gonalons’ free-kick in the fifth minute of injury-time, after leftback Henri Bedimo had equalized for Lyon in the first minute.

Bordeaux opened the scoring when forward Henri Saivet netted his third goal in four games, heading in Brazilian defender Mariano’s cross in the seventh minute.

Lyon were missing key midfielders Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff, but forward Alexandre Lacazette almost equalized soon after, beating three players on a solo run to shoot just wide.

Midway through the second half, Lyon went close again as Mariano cleared Jimmy Briand’s shot off the line.

Lyon’s equalizer came after Bedimo won the ball in midfield, played it to Briand and received a return pass before cutting inside the area and poking the ball over the line from a narrow angle.

Tolisso’s first career goal then prompted wild scenes of delight on the Lyon bench.

“I was in the right place and we’re happy to get the win,” Tolisso said. “We believed in it, we believed we could do it and that’s just great.”