Lille squeeze into second with Strasbourg draw
LOSC Lille dominated but could not break down RC Strasbourg-Alsace in a goalless draw on Friday. Despite a third game without victory, the northerners still moved a point clear of Montpellier Hérault SC and into second.
LOSC 0-0 RC Strasbourg Alsace
Strasbourg had brought a run of four Lille wins to an end with a 2-0 victory in the duo's Coupe de la Ligue tie late last month, and though that triumph had been on home soil, the visitors to the Stade Pierre Mauroy made life difficult again.
Lille, beaten by PSG last time, camped in their opponents' half, but found goalkeeper Matz Sels immovable when they did break through. The Belgium international boxed clear a Jonathan Bamba shot (12') and then watched his teammates suffocate their opponents.
Sels might have had to work harder had Jose Fonte been able to direct a header either side of him instead of straight into the goalkeeper's gloves (33'), while Adama Soumaoro failed to react when Nicolas Pepe blasted the ball across the face of the Strasbourg goal (34').
Strasbourg came into the game unbeaten in six matches and in Lebo Mothiba, the South Africa international forward signed from Lille late in the summer transfer window, a striker who could cause problems.
The hosts should have been well aware of his qualities, but he still managed to steal in on goal after a mistake by Fodé Ballo-Touré, but Mike Maignan stood up strong to his former teammate's powerful effort (67').
Lille had won all six of their home games prior to kick-off, and would have made that seven but for Sels, who brilliantly parried a Xeka drive (74'), and then Pablo Martinez's goalline clearance from Rafael Leao's shot, one of 22 the hosts had on the night, eight of which were on target.
THE PLAYER: Matz Sels
Strasbourg have found themselves a quality number one in the Belgian, who was the main reason Lille's vaunted attack were blunted.
THE STAT: 1
Strasbourg have won just one of their last 17 away trips in Ligue 1.