A fine cameo performance from the January signing, plus an inspirational display from Hazard allowed les Dogues to come from behind to winParis Saint-Germain’s ambitions to win the Ligue 1 title took a blow in Lille, where it was defeated 2-1 on Sunday night, leaving it trailing leaders Montpellier by five points.
Both sides hit the frame of the goal in the first half, but early in the second period Javier Pastore headed PSG into the lead. The introduction of Nolan Roux was pivotal, though, with the former Brest striker drawing a foul from Mamadou Sakho that saw the visiting defender dismissed as he conceded a penalty that was converted by Eden Hazard. With 10 minutes remaining, the striker was on hand to convert from close range.
Third-placed Lille made a whirlwind start to the game, but despite peppering the goal of Salvatore Sirigu, they would be thwarted by the Italian goalkeeper’s athleticism. Sirigu made a particularly noteworthy block from a fine Tulio de Melo header and was also sharply from his line to deny Hazard.
PSG offered a limited threat when it attacked, going closest when Pastore hit the bar as he seemingly tried to divert a free kick back across the face of goal.
Hazard went even closer for Lille before the interval, sending a skimming low drive crashing off the inside of the post, watching as the ball traveled almost along the width of the goal before spinning out of play.
Early in the second half, the visitors moved into the lead. Christophe Jallet and Kevin Gameiro combined down the right, and though the latter’s cross was pushed away by Mickael Landreau, Pastore was on the penalty spot to send a well-placed header back over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Les Parisiens could have killed the game off when Gameiro pounced on loose play from Benoit Pedretti, but Landreau produced a match-turning save.
Minutes later, Roux came on to change the course of the game, driving clear of Sakho within seconds of his arrivals to begin the turnaround. Inevitably, Hazard converted from the penalty spot.
As PSG floundered, growing increasingly defensive, Lille was growing in confidence. It was from a familiar source that it struck the winning goal. Mathieu Debuchy bombed down the right flank before laying a pass back to Hazard, whose extravagant cross was headed back across goal by Tulio for Roux to convert.
There was never any prospect of a leveling goal from the visitors, who were never a threat after being reduced to 10. Prior to Sakho’s dismissal, they looked like closing the gap on Montpellier to two points, but now five marks adrift with only four matches remaining, winning a first league title in nearly two decades now looks a distant prospect.
In-form Lille, meanwhile, has PSG firmly in its sights as it battles to retain its title. Rudi Garcia’s attractive side is seven points off the pace, but still has to travel to Montpellier.
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