Nicolas Pépé scored one goal and set up two more to propel LOSC to a vital 3-1 win over FC Metz that boosted their survival hopes, and pushed their opponents closer to the drop.
LOSC 3 - 1 FC Metz
This was a huge clash at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with Metz the favourites in the eyes of many, despite being the away side and propping up the Ligue 1 Conforama table. After all, Lille had gone 11 games without a win since their last victory at the end of January, while Frédéric Hantz's side had beaten Stade Rennais FC on their last away outing.
However, Lille went in front early on here, Pépé setting up Luiz Araújo to finish low past Eiji Kawashima and grab his fifth league goal of the campaign (13').
Crucially, LOSC doubled their lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half, as Araújo returned the favour, laying the ball off to Pépé, who curled a shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area on his left foot. Kawashima got a touch but could not keep it out.
Roux sets nerves jangling
Metz were given hope early in the second half thanks to the classic combination of Matthieu Dossevi and Nolan Roux. Dossevi cut into the penalty area from the right before cutting the ball back for Roux to drive a first-time shot into the net (49'). It was a 15th Ligue 1 Conforama goal this season for Roux, and it came against the club he represented between 2012 and 2015.
Nerves could have set in, but Lille rode the storm and restored their two-goal lead late on. Again Pépé was involved, playing in Yves Bissouma, who scored at the second attempt after Japanese 'keeper Kawashima had saved at his feet (77').
The final whistle brought huge relief for Christophe Galtier's Lille side and the home fans. They remain in the relegation zone, but they are still within touching distance of the teams above them and they now have something to build on. In contrast, Metz are six points adrift and surely cannot come back from this.
THE PLAYER: Nicolas Pépé
The young Ivory Coast international was one of the star signings ahead of this season, which Lille fans hoped would bring so much. He struggled under Marcelo Bielsa, who insisted on playing the ex-Angers SCO man through the middle of the attack. He has done better under Galtier, and now has seven goals in 2018 after netting one and making the other two for the hosts here.
THE STAT: 12
A first win in 12 for Lille, who must now seek to build on this when they go to Toulouse FC in a massive match next weekend.