Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Lille on rebound against shot-shy Nîmes

Publish on 04/10/2019 at 11:00


LOSC will hope to bounce back from their midweek loss to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome Nîmes Olympique to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday afternoon.

 LOSC  -  Nîmes Olympique 

Lille suffered their second defeat in as many Champions League outings this season as they went down 2-1 to the English club on Wednesday despite a battling performance and a seventh goal of the season for Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen. After losing 3-0 to Ajax in the Netherlands in their opening game, Christophe Galtier's side are already very much up against it in their bid to qualify from Group H and Les Dogues have now failed to win any of their last 13 matches in European competition.

"We thought we could get a good result but little details in the game hurt us. We paid dearly and we conceded two goals from two mistakes," admitted veteran defender José Fonte after Willian's 78th-minute goal made the difference under the closed roof at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

"We are a young team and we need to learn and keep working hard, because we have lots of talent. What more can we do? Well, we have the fighting quality but we need to stay focused and take our chances when they come, that is what it is all about at the top level and we need to improve that side of our game."

Highlights: Araújo stunner earns Lille draw at Nice

Lille's finishing had already left Galtier fuming last weekend after their 1-1 draw away to OGC Nice, a result which left them in fourth place in the Ligue 1 Conforama table. Their results at home in the league this season have been good though, and that gives them cause for optimism as they welcome the Crocodiles to far northern France. LOSC have won four out of four before their own fans in Ligue 1, getting the better of FC Nantes, AS Saint-Etienne, Angers SCO and RC Strasbourg Alsace. In fact they have won eight in a row at home in the league going back to April.

Galtier may be tempted to make changes here in a bid to freshen up his side, with Xeka, Loïc Rémy, Yusuf Yazıcı, Renato Sanches and Domagoj Bradarić all pushing for starts after being left on the bench at kick-off in midweek. Meanwhile, Jonathan Ikoné will be keen to play a starring role after being retained in the latest France squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey later this month - his teammate Mike Maignan was left out this time.

Where will the goals come from?

Nîmes make the 900-kilometre trip north also determined to get back on track, in their case after consecutive 1-0 defeats, away at local rivals Montpellier Hérault SC and then at home against struggling Saint-Etienne last weekend. Bernard Blaquart's side found themselves above the relegation zone only on goal difference after that setback.

A major problem has been goals - they have scored just one goal in their last four outings as they come to terms with the summer departures of key creator Téji Savanier and goal-getters Denis Bouanga, Antonin Bobichon and Rachid Alioui.

Highlights: Crocodiles beaten by Saint-Etienne

"I read that we are the team who have had the most shots on goal, along with Paris, so it is not out play and the chances that are lacking, it is our finishing," Blaquart said. "We lost our top goal-scorer and the man who takes our free-kicks, and we need to work on those aspects of our game."

At least Nîmes still have Renaud Ripart, who was their joint top scorer last season on eight goals alongside Bouanga, although he has netted just once in the current campaign, in the 2-1 defeat by Nice in Week 2.

"You are hoping that the wheel turns and that other players will score more. Ripart will start scoring again soon. He gets 10 every year but we need others. Last year we didn't have one great player who scored 15 goals but five or six who scored seven or eight times," added Blaquart, who must do without defender Florian Miguel and midfielder Lucas Deaux due to suspension this weekend.

Probable teams

Lille: To follow

Nîmes: To follow