Lens edge Lille in northern derby

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RC Lens got the better of LOSC Lille in the northern derby on Saturday, Przemysław Frankowski’s second-half strike giving the hosts a 1-0 win at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

RC Lens 1-0 LOSC Lille

THE MATCH

The 113th derby meeting between these bitter rivals from France’s far north was settled by a 74th-minute goal from the Polish international. José Fonte came out to clear a Gaël Kakuta through ball on the edge of the box but he was not strong enough in his attempts to snuff out the danger and was closed down by Frankowski. After getting the break of the ball, he fired low beyond Ivo Grbić and into the corner of the net to give Lens their first Ligue 1 win against Lille in 15 years.

The Lens fans exploded with joy after having seen their team dominate the first half without finding the breakthrough and then having survived as Lille grew into the game after the restart. Burak Yilmaz scored a stunning goal in the corresponding fixture on Lille’s run to the title, but he will have a sleepless night after missing the target with a free header in the 63rd minute. Soon after Jean-Louis Leca saved well from Jonathan David and then bravely got down to keep out the follow-up too.

The match, which had been held up for half an hour at the interval due to incidents in the crowd, was ultimately decided by Frankowski’s goal but Lens briefly thought they had doubled their lead when Wesley Saïd found the net, only for the offside flag to cut short the celebrations.

The result allowed unbeaten Lens to spend Saturday night in second place in the table, while Jocelyn Gourvennec’s team are a shadow of the side that won the championship last season. They languish in the bottom half having won just one of their opening six matches.

THE PLAYER: Przemysław Frankowski

Lens were quiet in the summer transfer window after doing much of their squad building following their return to Ligue 1 a year ago. However they did add the 26-year-old Polish international winger, who played at Euro 2020 before moving to France from Chicago Fire in MLS. He had provided three assists in his first five appearances, and here he grabbed his first goal for Lens in what is arguably their biggest fixture of the season.

THE STAT: 5

Lille have just five points from their first six games. It is the worst start to a season by a reigning champion since FC Nantes in 2001-02. They had just two points at the same stage.

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