Posted on Apr 29
Paris Saint Germain's French title hopes suffered a major setback on Sunday when the big-spending club squandered a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 to defending champions Lille.
The defeat left PSG five points behind Montpellier with four games left to play.
Javier Pastore had given Carlo Ancelotti's side a 47th-minute lead with a fine header from a Kevin Gameiro cross.
But the game turned in the 71st minute when Lille won a penalty after Mamadou Sakho brought down Nolan Roux and Eden Hazard stepped-up to bury the spot-kick for his 17th goal of the season. Sakho was also red-carded.
PSG were unable to hang onto the point when Hazard sent over a teasing cross for Roux to bury the winner with a pinpoint header 10 minutes from time.
The win moved Lille into third place in the table, just two points behind PSG.
"This wasn't a good night for us because we lost an important match," said Ancelotti.
"We were in control. We scored the first goal and could have had another on the counter-attack. Then we conceded the penalty and with the sending off of Sakho, it all became harder.
"But this championship is not over, there are four games left to play. It's important we get a reaction to this."
Belgian star Hazard was the star of the show for Lille with another commanding performance.
He had been close to breaking the deadlock in the 29th minute when his shot was tipped onto the post by PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
His penalty conversion then took him to 17 goals for the season, just three behind top marksman Olivier Giroud of Montpellier.
PSG's Qatari owners were watching from the stands and could only have been impressed by the Belgian star who came close to adding to his tally in the 88th minute when a long-distance drive deflected off the leg of Alex.
"It was a great fightback," said Roux. "It was a game with a lot of intensity but the last quarter of an hour was crucial. We wanted a result tonight to put the pressure back on to PSG."
Montpellier lead the way on 72 points after they edged Toulouse 1-0 on Friday.
Rene Girard's men kept the wheels firmly on their surprise title bid with an early goal from Younes Belhanda which also guaranteed them a first ever appearance in the Champions League next season.
Montpellier went into a lightning lead when Moroccan international Belhanda caught the Toulouse defence napping to shoot past Ali Ahamada by the near post with the game only three minutes old.