Lebo Mothiba was LOSC Lille's hero as the South Africa international claimed both goals in a 2-1 win over Dijon FCO on Saturday that secures his team's top-flight survival.
LOSC 2-1 Dijon FCO
After back-to-back wins, Lille came into the game out of the bottom three and with optimisim. That, though, was quickly dampened when Kevin Malcuit and Mike Maignan, each with a glaring error, combined to present Chang-hoon Kwon with the most generous of opening goals (11').
Dijon, who were set for their best-ever Ligue 1 Conforama season regardless of the result, could hardly believe their luck, but did not have long to celebrate the advantage.
Lille captain Yassine Benzia has been one of the driving forces behind his side's renaissance, and he slipped a delightful ball into the run of Malcuit, who made amends for his part in the opening goal by crossing for Mothiba to finish (18').
Lille's top scorer Nicolas Pépé should have done better than fire wide when he latched onto a Benzia chip (29') and the former Angers SCO striker then went close to a 14th league goal of the season (44') before Mothiba struck again.
This time, the ex-Mamelodi Sundowns striker, who was recalled from a loan spell at Domino's Ligue 2 outfit Valenciennes FC in January, was again the beneficiary of the Benzia-Malcuit double-act, heading home the full-back's measured cross with the last touch of the first half (45+1').
Luiz Araujo forced Baptiste Reynet into a save (63') and then teed up Mothiba to shoot across the face of goal (65') as Lille sought a third. Pépé went close too (80') but Dijon might have pooped the party had Cédric Yambéré (83') or Julio Tavrares (87', 89') taken late chances as nerves gripped the hosts.
THE PLAYER: Yassine Benzia
Captain in the absence of Ibrahim Amadou, the former Olympique Lyonnais man was again an example to follow, both technically and in terms of determination. His hand in both goals was key, while his never-say-die spirit rubbed off on his team-mates.
THE STAT: 3
Lille have won three successive league games for the first time since November 2016, and have now won all three home league matches they have played against Dijon.