Though Ligue 1 leaders led thanks to a goal from Mathieu Debuchy, they were ultimately lucky to get a point from this clash in BrittanyLille could find itself off the top of Ligue 1 by the time Marseille finish their clash with Nice on Wednesday after they failed to overcome Europa League hopefuls Lorient on Sunday night.
Mathieu Debuchy’s opening goal arrived complete against the general flow of the first half, which was dominated by the Bretons. There could be little question of the quality of the strike, which came from good play from Moussa Sow down the left hand side. A cross to the back post was met by the right-back, who volleyed home on the stretch from a tight angle.
When Kevin Gameiro volleyed the leveler from 12 yards midway through the second half following a clever headed exchange with Morgan Amalfitano, it was fully deserved for Christian Gourcuff’s side.
The early stages of the game suggested the Lille were over their recent jitters as Gervinho was involved frequently and dangerously, carving out an opening down the left hand side for Sow, which was ultimately kicked wide by Fabien Audard.
Lorient, who had been beaten by the league leaders 6-3 in the previous fixture between these clubs, would go on to create a whole catalog of chances but found Mickael Landreau in the visiting goal at the very peak of his game.
On the 11 minute mark, Kevin Gameiro did manage to prod the ball around the advancing goalkeeper, but his clever finish came back off the post and was ultimately scrambled clear.
This was just the start of 45 minutes of huge frustration for Lorient, whose football was sharp and incisive, at a level better than their guests.
The let-offs for Lille came in a steady stream. Adil Rami needlessly gifted possession away 30 yards from his goal, resulting in first a fine Landreau save and then Morgan Amalfitano’s follow-up being cleared off the line by Aurelien Chedjou.
Both Amalfitano and Gameiro would be denied in fine style by Landreau in the closing stages of the half, which was capped off in the worst possible style for the hosts when Debuchy scored.
Unperturbed Lorient came out in the second half with a similar attitude and quickly created further opportunities for their two chief protagonists.
It seemed that there would be no way past the solid Landreau before Gameiro’s powerful intervention after Lille’s shaky defence had left their goalkeeper exposed just once too often.
Having been in excellent form to that point, Lorient seemed poised to go on and win the game, but LOSC would gradually quell some of the home side’s momentum, though they would still enjoy more possession.
It would be Lorient who had the pick of the late chances, though. Gervinho’s touch let him down at the vital moment, while a quickly taken free kick sent Eden Hazard through on goal. The teenage Belgian, who would have a very quiet game by his standards, was unlucky to see his shot off the post.
Winning against Europa League hopefuls was never likely to be an easy task for Lille, but the manner of this draw further raises questions of their title credentials and will certainly have Marseille favorites in many people’s eyes to lift the Ligue 1 trophy at the conclusion of the campaign.
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