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Round 20 Review: PSG, Lille take charge, Lyon slip up

Publish on 18/01/2021 at 11:40 - I. HOLYMAN

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Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of the table and Jonathan David ensured Lille tucked in just behind as Lyon lost ground in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats title race in Round 20.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino watched from home while isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 as Layvin Kurzawa's goal proved enough for a 1-0 win at Angers on Saturday that lifted  the reiging champions from second to the top of the table.

 

"It was a very tough game for us, it was a real battle. Angers are a very well organised team and they's also already shown their talent. Because of where they are in the league, we knew it would be a tough game," said Jesus Perez, Pochettino's assistant, who was in charge in the dug-out at the Stade Raymond Kopa. 

 

"Of course it was a bizarre situation. We were without Mauricio for the first time. We had to adapt our tactics during the game without him. Luckily we were permanently in contact with him via telephone and we managed to control the game."

 

WATCH: All the Round 20 goals

 

 

 

The same could not be said for Lille, who needed David to prod home a matchwinner in added time as the northerners snatched a 2-1 victory at the Stade Pierre Mauroy against Reims to move level with PSG on 42 points, a tally LOSC have not bettered since 1950.

 

"We're not saying to ourselves that we're playing for the title," said Canada international David, who has taken his season's tally to three league goals. "We try to win as many matches as possible to see where we might be come the end of the season. We're not putting pressure on ourselves. We're playing to win, that's all." 

 

Having come into the Round as leaders, Lyon now find themselves in third place, two points off top spot, after Aaron Leya Iseka's late goal for Metz ended OL's 16-game unbeaten run. "We thought we'd learned that when you can't win, you have to play to take at least a point, but we weren't able to do that," said Lyon boss Rudi Garcia. "We have to put that right quickly and focus on the derby with Saint-Etienne, which is coming up on Sunday. We need to get back to winning ways on Sunday. We've lost two places, it's massive."

 

WATCH: The Round 20 highlights

 

 

 

Rennes and Monaco are fourth and fifth respectively — both with 36 points, four off the top three — after they maintained their impressive recent form. Monaco had goals from Kevin Volland and Wissam ben Yedder to thank for their 3-2 win at Montpellier on Friday — a match in which former Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte denied the hosts as they came back from 3-0 down to within a goal of the visitors from the principality. Rennes registered a fifth win in a seven-game unbeaten streak as they beat Breton rivals Brest 2-1 with Clément Grenier scoring the decisive goal from the penalty spot.

 

Sixth-placed Marseille, who play one of their two games in hand on the teams above them, have now just one of their last six league games as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Nîmes, who had started the Round bottom of the table.

 

"We risk losing touch with the teams at the top, who are all more consistent. We were very bad and we paid an expensive price for it," said OM boss André Villas-Boas, who saw Florian Thauvin miss a first-half penalty. "We need to do much better. We can’t go from playing well against Paris [in the Trophée des Champions] to a miserable match like that."

 

 

Strasbourg's fine run of form continued — and Saint-Etienne's woeful run did too — as the Alsace club picked up a third successive win and clean sheet thanks to Ludovic Ajorque's 29th-minute strike. Sainté have won just one of their last 17 L1 games, and remain in the relegation battle.

 

Nice have failed to win any of their last five outings and none of their last seven home matches in the French top flight after losing 3-0 to Bordeaux — second-half goals from Hwang Ui-Jo, ex-Nice man Paul Baysse and Toma Basic gave Jean-Louis Gasset's men a second successive L1 victory, a Bordeaux first since January 2019.

 

Nantes are winless in 11 league games, but could have taken all three — and lost them — at home to Lens. Gaël Kakuta missed a first-half penalty for the visitors shortly before Imran Louza tucked one away for the hosts, but Kakuta made amends with a late equaliser (81').

 

Dijon's game against Lorient was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Breton club's squad.

 

 
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