Sanches delivers late winner for Lille
Renato Sanches scored his first Ligue 1 Conforama goal to give LOSC a 2-1 win over Montpellier Hérault SC on Friday, making it four straight victories for Christophe Galtier's side.
LOSC Lille 2 - 1 Montpellier Hérault SC
Lille were making their return to domestic action just 72 hours after concluding their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea. Captain José Fonte, Jonathan Bamba, Jonathan Ikoné and top scorer Victor Osimhen were all back in Galtier's starting line-up here having been left out of the side in London, as LOSC went looking for a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 Conforama victory.
They had won each of their previous three league games by a 1-0 margin, and it looked for a long time as though they would repeat that scoreline here. The hosts took the lead five minutes before the break at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with Ikoné converting a penalty awarded after Osimhen had been upended in the area by Montpellier goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Bamba had a shot saved by Rulli moments later, and Sanches was also denied by the Argentine as the hour mark approached. Lille would regret not getting that second goal as Montpellier equalised with 16 minutes remaining. Arnaud Souquet delivered a cross from the right that was helped on by Florent Mollet for Andy Delort to score at the back post, the striker getting his sixth league goal of the season.
Osimhen misses penalty
Delort might have won it for Montpellier with 10 minutes left, but his shot was saved by Mike Maignan at the goalkeeper's near post. Instead, Lille hit back to make it 2-1 when Portugal star Sanches collected Ikoné's flick and cut into the box from the left before firing past Rulli at his near post (84').
Lille then squandered a chance to make absolutely sure of the points towards the end when Osimhen missed their second penalty of the evening, awarded when Mollet brought down Luiz Araujo, with Rulli making the save (90').
Nevertheless, LOSC held out to remain unbeaten at home this season, and they hold onto their place on the podium after their fourth successive victory. Meanwhile, it is now just one win in five games for Michel Der Zakarian’s Montpellier side, who remain in mid-table and are still winless on their travels.
THE PLAYER: Renato Sanches
Sanches came to France hoping to finally rediscover the form that made him such a hot prospect at Benfica and led to him starring in the Portugal side that won Euro 2016. Again he started wide on the right here for Lille, as he has done in recent games, but it was from the left that he produced his decisive late strike for his first goal in French football.
THE STAT: 7
Lille have now had seven penalties in Ligue 1 this season, after being awarded two spot-kicks in this game.