RECAP: ST. ETIENNE 1 - 2 LILLE
Lille OSC came from behind and achieved a much-needed win away over Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne to inch closer to the championship.
Carlos Bocanegra anchored the Stephanois backline in the disappointing loss for St. Etienne that dashed any hopes of European competition next season.
Emmanuel Riviere got the hosts off to a roaring start with a goal after five minutes. Dimitri Payet did half the work streaming through the midfield and finding Laurent Batlles onside for a face-off with Lille netminder Mickaël Landreau. Batlles' shot slipped through Landreau and dribbled slowly toward the goalline, and Riviere followed up to tap it over for the 1-0 lead.
Brazilian striker Tulio De Melo silenced the Stephanois fans after a quarter hour with an improbable strike that somehow found the back of the net. From the left flank Lille captain Antonio Mavuba looped in a pass that De Melo awkwardly deflected forward while falling and, to the surprise Jérémie Janot, just inside the left post for the 1-1 leveler.
Mavuba added onto his assist with a stunning goal of his own in the 67th minute. Left unmarked deep in the midfield, the French national unleashed a strike from 40 yards out that took a slight deflection and a bounce on its way into the left-side netting for the 2-1 lead and eventual game-winner.
With the win Lille march closer to clinching the championship holding a game in hand and a seven-point lead over Olympique de Marseille with three games to go.
For St. Etienne the result erased any remaining lofty hopes of achieving a Europa League spot next season.
Bocanegra will look forward to facing his old teammates when Stade Rennais come to town on Sunday afternoon.