French football

Yilmaz bags a brace as Lille beat Lens to extend lead at top of Ligue 1

Burak Yilmaz (left) scored twice in Lille's 3-0 romp past Lens.
Burak Yilmaz (left) scored twice in Lille's 3-0 romp past Lens. © REUTERS - PASCAL ROSSIGNOL

Burak Yilmaz scored twice on Friday night to help Lille past northern rivals Lens 3-0 and into a four point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1.


Lille, seeking their first top flight title since 2011, made a dream start at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis

The hosts' midfielder Seko Fofana tripped Jonathan Bamba in the penalty area after just four minutes.

Yilmaz converted the spot kick and the visitors maintained the pressure against a side looking for a place in next season's Europa League after their return this campaign from the second division.

But those ambitions were further jeopardised half an hour after the opener when Clément Michelin was dismissed for his second bookable offence within six minutes.

Yilmaz rubbed salt into the self-inflicted wound five minutes later.

Wonder strike

The 35-year-old Turkey international picked up the ball from Boubakary Soumare about 40 metres from goal. 

He turned, ran at the space vacated by Michelin and suddenly fired left- footed from 30 metres. 

The ball swerved viciously en route to lodging in the top right hand corner of the goal. Below Jean-Louis Leca stood immobile and impotent.

As the beaten goalkeeper railed at his bemused defenders, Yilmaz was being mobbed by his ecstatic team-mates.

Jonathan David added the third on the hour mark.

"To go 1-0 up after five minutes was a great start," David told Canal +. "And then that second goal ... incredible. But that's Burak. Two games are left. We have to remain solid and work hard for the next game."

The victory took Lille onto 79 points after 36 games. 

Second-placed PSG, who are seeking their eighth title in nine years, can cut the deficit to one point on Sunday night when they take on Rennes.

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