Lille’s Nicolas Pepe the difference in Saint Etienne

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe was the difference in the League match against Saint Etienne in to take a seven-point lead over Lyon to cement the second position in Ligue 1.

Nicolas Pepe was first to threaten in the game for Lille as he produced a promising shot towards the bottom right corner after his wonderful solo run, but Stephane Ruffier saved his effort for a corner.

Pepe was at it again before the half hour with another shot saved by Ruffier in goal but Etienne missed the chance of the game Robert Beric getting on the end of a defense-splitting pass inside the box, but this shot was poor and went direct to Mike Maignan arms.

The second-half was more of the same as Jonathan Ikone blazed high from inside the box and Pepe shot but was again denied by the home side’s keeper.

The deadlock was however broken with three minutes to go as Nicolas Pepe run into the box and displayed quick feet and dribbling as he jinks his way through multiple challenges and score from inside the box.

The home side lost discipline in the last minutes of the game with Debuchy and Wahbi Khazri both seeing red cards as their side succumbed to a second defeat in a row.

Christophe Galtier Lille coach after the 1-0 winner at Saint-Etienne: “It took a while to settle down. It would have been unfair to lose but in the last ten minutes, you never know what can happen. He told L’Equipe.

“We have created better opportunities than our opponent. I was convinced that we would win by opening the mark. I regret our technical waste and the middle-attack relationship.

“Looking at the Lyon score in Strasbourg (2-2), we had said to do as well as OL to maintain the gap (for 2nd place) but there was also the desire to play and take a maximum risk to take points”.

ken Nzuki

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