Lille win again as Dijon slump goes on
Nicolas Pépé and Luiz Araújo scored as LOSC continued their superb start to the season with a 2-1 win away at Dijon FCO on Saturday that cements their grip on second place.
Dijon FCO 1 - 2 LOSC
Lille were looking to pick up where they left off before the international break, when Christophe Galtier's side won 3-1 at home to AS Saint-Etienne. A trip to face a struggling Dijon side seemed like the perfect fixture for Lille, and they duly got the job done at the Stade Gaston-Gérard.
The opening goal came from the penalty spot midway through the first period. Pépé's attempted cutback was handled by Wesley Lautoa as the Dijon defender slid in looking to make a block. Pépe then stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick, despite Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson diving the right way (21').
Pépé almost doubled Lille's lead 10 minutes before half-time, lifting the ball over Rúnarsson but seeing it dribble just wide at the end of a counter-attack. Laurent Ciman then nearly headed into his own net, but the visitors did increase their lead prior to the break at the end of a superb move.
Pépé was involved with a lovely lay-off to Mehmet Zeki Çelik, and he then released Araújo, the Brazilian taking a touch before sweeping home on his left foot from just outside the area to mark his first start of the season with his first goal.
Dijon did make a game of it after the interval, with Benjamin Jeannot forcing an excellent save out of Mike Maignan midway through the second half. The hosts then won a penalty following a José Fonte handball, with Mehdi Abeid beating Maignan from the spot (81').
There was to be no equaliser, though, with Maignan saving well from Valentin Rosier while Rúnarsson denied Jonathan Ikoné at the other end. Lille held on for a third straight win, a fifth in six matches, to ensure that they will end the weekend still in second spot. In contrast, Dijon have taken just one point from their last seven outings now.
THE PLAYER: Nicolas Pépé
The Ivorian is enjoying a spectacular season and played a major role in another Lille victory, scoring the penalty that he had helped win for his team, and then being involved in the build-up to the second goal that was ultimately decisive.
THE STAT: 7
As in the number of goals scored by Pépé this season, four of which have come from the penalty spot. It is also the number of games that Dijon have played without winning - they had started the season with three successive victories.