Fonte salvages a point for leaders Lille against Strasbourg

Julien Pretot
·2-min read
Europa League - Round of 32 First Leg - Lille v Ajax Amsterdam

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Captain Jose Fonte struck late as Lille salvaged a point with a 1-1 home draw against Racing Strasbourg on Sunday to retain top spot in the Ligue 1 standings.

Fonte found the back of the net with four minutes left to cancel out Ludovic Ajorque's first-half opener and put Lille on 59 points from 27 games.

They lead second-placed Paris St Germain, who hammered bottom club Dijon 4-0 on Saturday, by two points, while third-placed Olympique Lyonnais were left three points off the pace after being held 1-1 at Olympique de Marseille later on Sunday.

Strasbourg are now 15th on 30 points.

Lille dominated early on but Strasbourg were more clinical and they went ahead nine minutes before the break when Ajorque volleyed home from Frederic Guilbert's cross for his 11th goal of the season.

Ajorque went close to doubling the visitors' advantage with a header two minutes later but Lille keeper Mike Maignan denied him with a superb save.

Strasbourg coach Thierry Laurey left the bench towards the end of the first half with broadcaster Canal Plus saying he was feeling unwell.

Lille upped a gear after the break, but keeper Eiji Kawashima parried a fierce strike from Jonathan Ikone to keep Strasbourg ahead.

Fonte eventually levelled with a header but Lille were not able to take all three points despite a late onslaught.

Lyon looked set to move within a point from Lille when Karl Toko Ekambi opened the scoring at the Velodrome with a right-footed effort from Leo Dubois's cross for his 12th goal of the season, but things then went pear shaped.

Marseille levelled just before the break through an Arkadiusz Milik penalty following a handball by Lucas Paqueta, who was then sent off in the 71st as he picked up a second yellow card.

OM were still with Nasser Larguet on the bench, before Argentine Jorge Sampaoli, who was announced as the next coach on Friday, effectively takes over once his COVID-19 mandatory quarantine is over.

Earlier, Monaco beat visiting Stade Brestois 2-0 thanks to goals by Stevan Jovetic and Kevin Volland to claim their ninth victory in their last 10 league games.

They are fourth on 55 points but coach Niko Kovacs refused to even contemplate what he called a "podium" finish.

"Podium talk is taboo. We'll talk about it when we have enough points to secure fourth place," he told a news conference.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)