Turkish duo Burak Yilmaz and Zeki Celik were on target as LOSC Lille secured a vital 2-0 win over Metz to remain at the top of Ligue 1.

LOSC Lille retained their place at the top of the Ligue 1 table, following a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Metz on Friday. It was a positive result for the French giants, who now extend their lead over PSG to six points, although Les Parisiens do have a game in hand, against Strasbourg on Saturday.

Lille, however, did not have the best of starts as Metz looked really threatening and even won a penalty when Jose Fonte handled the ball. The resultant spot-kick, though, was saved by Mike Maignan. It was a vital turning point of the match, although it took Lille 40 minutes to get their first shot on target as the two teams drew goalless at half-time.

Lille upped the ante after the restart, even securing the opener through a 60th minute strike from Burak Yilmaz. The goal gave them the incentive to adopt a cautious approach as Metz pushed forward for the equaliser.

The hosts were unable to break the shackles and in the end, Lille took full advantage as the returning Zeki Celik netted in the 89th minute to secure all three points for the league leaders. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Lille players in their hard-fought win over Metz on Friday.

Mike Maignan: 9/10

Maignan was the hero of the game for Lille. He started the game with a penalty save to deny Leya Iseka while also saving numerous goalbound efforts from the Metz players throughout the course of the game. Did have a nervy moment around the hour mark when he tried to play the ball to Sven Botman with his feet instead of clearing it, but it was a stunning performance from the goalkeeper nonetheless.

Zeki Celik: 8/10

Zeki Celik did not look sharp as such going forward as he struggled to create too many opportunities for his team. Defensively, though, the full-back looked solid, especially in duels as he helped Lille fend off the threat from Metz. He was rewarded for his efforts with an explosive strike that found the back of the net to secure all three points for Les Dogues.

Jose Fonte: 7/10

Jose Fonte may have been slightly unlucky to be penalised for a rather unintentional handball from close range. Nevertheless, the experienced centre-back made amends with some excellent defensive contributions throughout the game. He was particularly strong in duels and headers while also completing three clearances.

Sven Botman: 7.5/10

Sven Botman’s imposing presence at the heart of the backline made things much more difficult for the Metz attackers to become effective, especially in set-pieces. The youngster also looked dogged in defence, trying his best to repel the threat from the opposition, ending up making a total of three clearances, two blocks and two interceptions.

Reinildo: 7.5/10

Reinildo retained his place in the starting eleven despite the return of Celik, due to the suspension of right-back Tiago Djalo. The full-back made good on his opportunity as well, impressing the with his forays down the flank. But, it was his defensive work to keep Lamine Gueye quiet, that raised some eyebrows.

Renato Sanches: 7/10

Renato Sanches was the creator-in-chief for the Lille attack that did not look sharp against Metz. The former Bayern Munich star was almost inspirational at times with his willingness to move the ball forward. In fact, it was his magic turn and pass that teed up Burak Yilmaz for the winner in the 60th minute. By far the best attacker for Lille in this game.

Benjamin Andre: 6.5/10

Benjamin Andre was not as smooth or effective as he was against PSG, particularly looking sloppy at times in the build-up play. Defensively, the midfielder’s solid sense of positioning made it easier for him to screen the back four. He made a total of three interceptions in the game, with his ability to read the game playing a vital role in helping Lille retain the clean sheet.

Boubakary Soumare: 6/10

Boubakary Soumare did not have the best of games against Metz as he was mostly quiet. The youngster also looked ineffective with his forward passes while struggling to constantly involve himself in the thick of the action. A rather mediocre display in the middle of the park.

Jonathan Bamba: 4/10

Jonathan Bamba makes a strong case for being the worst performer for Lille in this game. The winner made absolutely no efforts to make things happen in the final third, often looking ineffective in possession. His lack of ideas and initiative eventually led to his substitution during the late stages of the game.

Jonathan Ikone: 5/10

Jonathan Ikone was entrusted with the responsibility of replacing the injured Jonathan David in a central role. Much like Bamba, however, the French attacker had problems influencing the game and ran out of ideas against the three Metz centre-backs. Certainly needs to improve as we head towards the final stretch of the season.

Burak Yilmaz: 7/10

Burak Yilmaz led the line responsibly, in the absence of David and Yusuf Yazici. He looked committed and worked hard in the first line of press, ultimately getting rewarded around the hour mark when his thumping effort beat Alexandre Oukidja. The veteran striker has been a blessing for Lille this season.

SUBSTITUTES

Timothy Weah: 6/10

Timothy Weah replaced the ineffective Ikone during the final phase of the game. The American international offered a lot of running and pace, with one of his forays into the opposition box even leading to a chance for Yilmaz.

Xeka: N/A

A late replacement for Andre. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Domagoj Bradaric: N/A

A late replacement for Bamba. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, but did register the assist for Celik’s late goal.

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