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LOSC secure in second with Amiens win

Publish on 18/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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LOSC are guaranteed to end the weekend as Paris Saint-Germain's closest challengers after Rafael Leao (45+1') and Xeka (85') gave them a 2-1 win over Amiens SC at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

LOSC 2-1 Amiens SC 

THE MATCH

LOSC started on the front foot and in control of possession, but Amiens managed to hit them on the counter early on, with Cheick Timité squaring for Juan Otero who opened his Ligue 1 Conforama account from close range (5'). Les Licornes bounded forward with another counter-attack soon after, this time Emil Krafth, having flown forward from right-back, was stopped by Mike Maignan at his near post, though (7'). Amiens captain Prince Gouano had been singing Timité's praises in the build-up to the game, and when the young striker conceded a free-kick on the edge of the visiting box, he was there to head Thiago Mendes' free-kick clear (23'). Gouano nearly went from hero to zero when he fouled Leao in the box, but Maignan's opposite number Régis Gurtner spared his blushes, denying Nicolas Pépé from spot (37'). There was little Amiens could do about LOSC getting back on level terms, though. Gouano cleared another Mendes free-kick, but it only got as far as Pépé, who crossed for Leao to steer home his fifth goal of the campaign (45+1').

LOSC leave it late

Lille started the second half as they had ended the first, in control of the play, but more than an hour was gone before they next threatened Gurtner's goal. Jonathan Bamba raced into the Amiens box and looked odds on to score before Gouano got in the way (63'). Second later, Mendes fizzed another set piece narrowly wide (63'). Leao came close to his first senior brace when he met Jérémy Pied's cross at the back post, but Gurtner tipped his header over the bar (75'). Pépé then curled a free-kick just past Gurtner's post (80') before Lille finally sealed all three points, with second-half substitute Xeka heading home another Pied cross for 2-1 (85'), meaning Christophe Galtier's men will remain PSG's closest challengers in second regardless of the AS Saint-Etienne's result against Olympique Lyonnais in the Derby du Rhône on Sunday.

THE PLAYER: Rafael Leao

Leao has not been a guaranteed starter for Lille this season, with Loïc Rémy and Rui Fonte both enjoying more minutes at the point of Les Dogues' attack before this game, but the 19-year-old has now scored more goals than anybody in the squad bar Pépé. The 6'2"-tall Portugal U21 can expect to be first choice for the remainder of the campaign.

THE STAT: 17

LOSC were utterly dominant against Amiens, despite only sealing the win five minutes from time. The hosts has 17 shots on goal to their visitors' two, and ended the game with 63 percent of possession.