PARIS (Reuters) – Olympique Lyonnais and Lille both stayed on course for a top-three finish in Ligue 1 and Champions League football next season after battling to a 2-2 draw in pulsating clash on Sunday.
The result left Lille second on 69 points with three matches remaining, six ahead of third-placed Lyon and seven in front of fourth-placed St Etienne, who closed the gap with a 3-2 win at Monaco in the afternoon fixture.
Champions Paris St Germain had last month secured an eighth league title and their sixth in the last seven seasons.
The top two in Ligue 1 are guaranteed automatic Champions League berths while the third-placed team will enter the elite club competition’s qualifying rounds.
There were muted celebrations from Lille’s former forward Martin Terrier when he fired Lyon into an 11th-minute lead, sweeping the ball home from eight metres after a fine assist by Memphis Depay.
Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan twice denied Nabil Fekir and his counterpart Anthony Lopes kept out a Loic Remy header on the stroke of halftime, but there was nothing the Lyon keeper could do after some sloppy defending early in the second half.
Remy capitalised on a comedy of errors after Jason Denayer completely missed a clearance and the ball rebounded off Ferland Mendy straight to the striker, who did well to round Lopes and slot the ball home from close range.
Boubakary Soumare then turned the match on its head when he drove the ball home off the underside of the bar from close range, as he got on the end of a floated free kick at the far post in the 69th minute.
But Lyon salvaged a point as right back Leo Dubois equalised with a fine volley from the edge of the penalty area in the 74th minute, drilling his shot in after Moussa Dembele’s initial effort was cleared of the line by a Lille defender.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)