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Played
May 13, 2012 8:00 PM BST
Stade de la Mosson — Montpellier
Referee:‬ F. Fautrel‎
Attendance:‬ 27649‎
 
90+3′ Karim Ait Fana
 
Top of the Match
Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud
Montpellier HSC
Karim Ait Fana
Karim Ait Fana
Montpellier HSC
Flop of the Match
De Melo
De Melo
LOSC Lille Métropole
Rudi Garcia
Rudi Garcia

Montpellier 1-0 Lille: Ait Fana stunner puts La Paillade on brink of Ligue 1 glory

La Paillade are closing in on the Ligue 1 crown, but it will go down to next weekend's concluding match against Auxerre, where they will need to take a point

By Robin Bairner

Montpellier took a big step towards the Ligue 1 title on Sunday evening as they secured a 1-0 win against defending champions Lille, who can now no longer retain their crown.

In a high-intensity match during which chances were rare, Montpellier’s strength trumped Lille’s finesse, with the hosts creating many of the game’s best opportunities. They found a winner four minutes into second-half stoppage time, with Olivier Giroud setting up substitute Karim Ait Fana to strike the winner.

This game would be played at a breakneck speed throughout, but it was the determination and desire of the home team that would be the overriding characteristic of a first half they showed a degree of control over by bullying the Lille players when they were in possession.

Opportunities at either end of the park were infrequent, but the best came to the home side. Olivier Giroud showed excellent persistence and strength to muscle Mathieu Debuchy off on the left, and from the striker’s cutback, Jamel Saihi should have struck, but the holding midfielder managed to loft the ball over the top.

Remi Cabella would have a strong influence on the match, but when well positioned he had an effort blocked by the Lille right-back.

As an attacking force, the visitors were subdued by the often heavy-handed approach of the hosts that the referee appeared unwilling to curb. Nevertheless, Dimitri Payet had a shot from range curl wide before Benoit Pedretti had a real sight of goal as he moved down the left channel, but Geoffrey Jourdren saved well.

There were no signs of nerves from the league leaders at any point, with their high-intensity approach ruffling the defending champions. Montpellier showed the kind of fluid football that has pushed them to the summit of Ligue 1 early in the second half with a fine break that resulted in Garry Bocaly’s cross being headed goalward by Giroud, only for Mickael Landreau to save athletically.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was lucky to finish the match because of his aggressive defending, had a glorious chance to strike following a corner kick, but the centre-back lashed a shot high over the bar from close range. This effort was the culmination of an intense period of pressure in which Cabella’s low drive had also been saved.

Montpellier’s rugged defending restricted opportunities for the guests impressively. Hazard had a sight of goal from a free kick, but his accurate effort was well saved by Jourdren.

As Lille’s desperation grew greater, Montpellier looked increasingly likely to snatch a winning goal, with Hilton heading at Landreau from a free kick before Cabella nearly beat the goalkeeper to a through ball.  

Although Rudi Garcia urged his side to push forward, they were unable to draw an error from their guests, and ultimately they were caught over-committing players forward. Giroud broke quickly and showed a cool head to set up a tap in for Ait Fana.

Nothing is decided yet, but Montpellier require only to draw with relegated Auxerre to claim the title next weekend ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, who are three points back.


Montpellier HSC

16
Geoffrey Jourdren
Goalkeeper
3.00
2
Garry Bocaly
Defender
27′
3.00
13
3.00
5
3.50
-
H. Bedimo
Defender
2.00
20
Rémy Cabella
Midfielder
3.00
22
3.00
23
Jamel Saihi
Midfielder
3.00
99
John Utaka
Striker
3.00
12
2.50
19
2.50

LOSC Lille Métropole

3.50
-
2.50
26
3.00
3
Lucas Digne
Defender
3.50
25
Marko Basa
Defender
3.00
4
3.50
17
Eden Hazard
Midfielder
2.00
17
2.50
24
1.50
7
2.00
-
De Melo
Striker

Substitutes

1
 - 
21
 - 
27
 - 
7
 - 
12
 - 
14
Romain Pitau
Midfielder
 - 
18
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
1
 - 
5
 - 
-
Mauro Cetto
Defender
 - 
5
Idrissa Gueye
Midfielder
 - 
26
Joe Cole
Midfielder
75′
 - 
-
 - 
26
Nolan Roux
Striker
70′

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
25 6
Edinson Cavani Edinson Cavani
Striker
PSG
15 2
Alexandre Lacazette Alexandre Lacazette
Striker
Lyon
15 0
Vincent Aboubakar Vincent Aboubakar
Striker
FC Lorient
14 2
André Pierre Gignac André Pierre Gignac
Striker
Marseille
14 1