Reigning champions Lille end 2-game losing streak in France

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Houssem Aouar of Lyon watches the ball during the French Ligue 1 soccer match between Lyon and Nice, at Stade de Lyon in Decines, near Lyon, France, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Houssem Aouar of Lyon watches the ball during the French Ligue 1 soccer match between Lyon and Nice, at Stade de Lyon in Decines, near Lyon, France, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

PA

Reigning champions Lille snapped a two-game losing streak with a 1-0 win at Montpellier in the French league on Saturday to get back in the race for European spots.

Lille struggled throughout against a feisty home side led by playmaker Teji Savanier, one of the best players in the league. Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim kept his team afloat with four crucial saves in the first half.

Jardim replaced regular starter Ivo Grbic after his disastrous display in the 5-1 loss to PSG last weekend. He did not disappoint and was again decisive on the hour mark to deny an effort from 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.

Lyon then hosted Nice in the other game on Saturday.

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