Lille and Lyon record victories in Ligue 1
Reigning Ligue 1 champions Lille ended a two-game losing streak with a 1-0 win at Montpellier while Lyon relied on Nice 2-0.
Lille struggled throughout against their fiery hosts with goalkeeper Leo Jardim keeping his side afloat with four decisive saves in the first half.
Jardim replaced regular starter Ivo Grbic following their 5-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain last weekend.
He did not disappoint and was again decisive on the hour mark to deny an effort from Teji Savanier.
Lille took the lead against the run of play with 14 minutes remaining when Portuguese midfielder Xeka snatched the winner from the rebound after a thwarted effort from team-mate Benjamin Andre.
There was a fun moment in the match when Jonathan Bamba and Xeka rocked, paper, scissors to decide who would take a free kick.
Bamba won and his free kick from around 25 yards went straight to Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin.
Lille edged Montpellier in seventh place in the standings, three points behind fourth-placed Strasbourg.
Back from the Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon striker Karl Toko Ekambi helped Lyon beat third-placed Nice.
Toko Ekambi’s second-half goal sealed Nice’s second straight league defeat.
Moussa Dembele put Lyon ahead from the penalty spot in the seventh minute with his 40th career league goal.
New Lyon players Tanguy Ndombele and Romain Faivre started and did not disappoint as they combined well to create Ekambi’s goal.
After an irregular first half of the season, Lyon have shown progress in recent weeks and have won four of their last five matches to move into sixth place, five points behind Nice.