Burak Yilmaz, Liulle, Nice
Match Reports

Turkish delight for Lille against Nice

Publish on 01/05/2021 at 22:51

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Turkish pair Burak Yilmaz and Zeki Celik got the goals as LOSC regained top spot in Ligue 1 Uber Eats - having only surrendered it for a matter of hours - with a 2-0 win over 10-man OGC Nice.

LOSC 2-0 OGC Nice

 

THE MATCH

 

Paris Saint-Germain had snuck to the top of the table earlier in the day thanks to a 2-1 victory over RC Lens, but Lille have occupied pole position for 12 of the last 13 rounds of fixtures and they were in no mood to surrender that position at home to Nice. Yilmaz fired them into an early need, the Turkey striker continuing to bely his 35-years with a first-time finish from the edge of the box which made for his 13th goal in an impressive maiden campaign in the French top-flight (13'). Luiz Araujo might have extended the hosts' advantage soon after when he got the break of the ball, but his effort sailed high of Walter Benitez's crossbar (19'). Nice tried to mount a response, but they were nearly punished for pouring bodies forward when LOSC goalkeeper Mike Maignan picked out Jonathan David from range, but the Canadian's subsequent effort failed to test Benitez (40').

 

Lille pull clear

 

Lille's task was made significantly more straightforward when Jordan Lotomba was given his marching orders by referee Amaury Delerue for a second bookable offence early in the second half (47') and they took full advantage of their numerical superiority soon after, Celik volleying home a stunning second goal of the game after Reinildo's cross had ricocheted back out to him (56'). Yilmaz was then a lick of paint away from completing his brace with a first-time effort which eluded Benitez but struck the Argentine's post (64'). Nice coach Adrian Ursea sent defenders Andy Pelmard and Stanley Nsoki on for the final 20 minutes in an attempt to stem the tide (70') but it was nearly Lille's late change Yusuf Yazici who had the final say. The forward, having replaced compatriot Yilmaz (71'), curled a left-footed effort wide of the upright (85') and it ended 2-0.

 

THE PLAYER: Burak Yilmaz

 

David's arrival from Gent at the start of the season perhaps attracted more column inches than Yilmaz's from Besiktas, but the veteran striker has been a revelation for followers of French football. The presence of contrymen Celik and Yazici may have helped him adjust quickly to life in northern France, but if LOSC seal a first Ligue 1 Uber Eats title since 2011, Yilmaz will arguably have been the most important piece of the puzzle.

 

THE STAT: 13

 

With 13 league goals, Yilmaz is the Turkish striker with the most strikes in a French top-flight season since PSG's Mevlut Erding, who scored 15 back in the 2009/10 season. He was already the first player aged 35 or more to score more than 10 goals in a Ligue 1 Uber Eats campaign since the turn of the century, as well as the first to do so in his maiden campaign since Nice legend Par Bengtsson, all the way back in the 1950-51 edition of the old French Division 1.