02.03.2024 23:20 h

Lille into Champions League spots, Marseille thrash Clermont

Jonathan David pounced on a defensive gift to score the sole goal as Lille beat Reims on Saturday to jump into fourth spot, while Marseille continued their fine run with a win in Clermont.

A miscued backpass from Reims captain Yunis Abdelhamid allowed Lille's Canadian striker to race through before slotting past Yehvann Diouf just before the hour, securing a 1-0 victory.

The win allowed Paulo Fonseca and his team to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat at Toulouse last weekend and provisionally leapfrog Nice into fourth, the final Champions League spot.

The Portuguese coach was pleased with the "tactically perfect match" to earn Lille's first away league win since November.

Regarding this poor away form, Fonseca said: "The problem was that we were playing against teams that weren't very strong. I've spoken to the players about it, and we need to change this mentality."

Lille went into the break goalless against their eighth-placed hosts but did create the best chance of a close-fought first period when only a fine double save by Diouf kept the sides level.

The Reims stopper did not cover himself in glory when he pushed Edon Zhegrova's angled strike straight to the feet of David, but he reacted superbly to foil the striker before Thibault De Smet hacked clear with the goal gaping.

David's next big chance came on 56 minutes and this time he was clinical when the last defender fluffed his pass, intercepting and sweeping home past the stranded 'keeper for the only goal.

The home side came to life as the clock ticked down but Lucas Chevalier, in goal, and the Lille defence withstood the tide and held on to their clean sheet.

Marseille continued to enjoy life under coach Jean-Louis Gasset as they moved up to sixth with a comfortable 5-1 win at 18th-place Clermont.

Marseille outplayed their opposition from the first whistle. Goals from Iliman Ndiaye, then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jonathan Clauss, Luis Henrique and Faris Moumbagna secured the three points after a shock Bilal Boutobba equaliser.

The deadlock was broken after 23 minutes when Ndiaye pounced on poor handling from Mory Diaw to prod home.

The Clermont 'keeper redeemed himself with a string of saves in the first half.

The cruising visitors hit a problem when they failed to clear a corner and as the ball came back across the six-yard box and Boutobba reacted quickest to snatch a leveller eight minutes after the break.

Marseille hit back six minutes later through a deft Aubameyang finish on the rebound after a save by Diaw.

Right-back Clauss gave Marseille breathing space on 67 minutes with a thunderous strike that left the goalkeeper little chance despite the tight angle.

Clermont pushed forward and were further punished when substitute Henrique slotted home his first Marseille goal. Moumbagna then struck from outside the box inside the last 10 minutes.

The result leaves the home team anchored to the bottom of the table but level on 17 points with Metz who travel to Nantes on Sunday.