(Reuters) – Second-placed Lille moved one step closer to securing Champions League qualification with a commanding 5-0 win over Nimes to move six points ahead of Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
After a goalless first half, Lille opened the scoring six minutes following the re-start when Boubakary Soumare won the ball in a midfield duel and provided Loic Remy with a through ball on the counter-attack. It was Remy’s first goal since February.
Jonathan Bamba doubled their lead in the 64th minute with a floating header into the top corner which was out of reach of the diving goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni.
Right back Mehmet Zeki Celik then made an attacking run and was spotted by Thiago Mendes who lobbed the ball over the defence for him. Seeing Bernardoni charge him down, Celik chipped the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
Substitute Rafael Leao then danced past his marker and attracted three defenders towards him before laying the ball for an unmarked Nicolas Pepe at the far post.
They added a fifth in stoppage time when Rui Fonte volleyed home from the edge of the box to complete the rout.
The top three in Ligue 1 qualify for the Champions League, with the third-placed team starting in the third qualifying round for Europe’s premier club competition. Both Lille and Lyon have four more games to play.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)