PLAYER RATINGS | Nantes 1-2 Lille: Jonathan David double defies Les Canaris fightback

Ligue 1, Round 33, 12/05/24

Paulo Fonseca’s future at Lille OSC might look uncertain with Olympique de Marseille aggressively circling the Portuguese head coach, but the present needs dictate that his focus stays on the remaining two games of the season. A victory away at FC Nantes tonight would see Lille dislodge Stade Brestois from the podium positions as they continue their search for a return to the Champions League. 

A win for Nantes would see the historic side safe for another season but it would be a tough ask for a club who have not won at the Stade de la Beaujoire since the 2nd of December. It was clear to see why they had struggled so much at home when Jonathan David found the opener within eight minutes. 

A corner delivery from Edon Zhegrova found the Canadien striker unmarked at the far post where he could guide the ball past Alban Lafont. Lille were like a hot knife through butter as three minutes later a sweeping passing move found David, the striker twisting his defender out of position for poking home his shot. 

Lille increased their pressure as they searched for a third with a flurry of chances, Zhegrova coming close before Leny Yoro then threatened Lafont’s goal. Nantes stepped up their defensive efforts as they tried to create a more aggressive out-of-possession shape. This intensity carried through as Lafont and Zhegrova both saw a yellow card for their off-the-ball shoving match. 

Lille kept up the pressure searching for their third as Zhegrova came close before Leny Yoro threatened Lafont’s goal. Nantes put pressure on Lille as they tried to create a more aggressive out-of-possession shape. This intensity carried through as Lafont and Zhegrova both saw a yellow card for an off-the-ball shoving match. 

A final chance from Zhegrova tried once again to put Nantes to the knife, but the shot dragged wide as the half came to a close with a rally of boos from the home support. Antoine Kombouaré had seen enough and he rang his changes during the halftime break, as Florent Mollet and Kelvin Amian Adou were swapped for Bénie Traoré and Marcus Coco. 

Traoré was a needed shot in the arm for the home side, and the Beaujoire faithful’s boos were quickly forgotten, as the winger burst towards the byline before cutting his pass back towards Matthis Albine. The striker took the opportunity to cut the deficit in half and stun a Lille team that had looked so dominant in the first 45 minutes. 

Nantes kept up the pressure as they searched for the equaliser. The action was down the Lille end as Lucas Chevalier was kept busy as Albine tried desperately to ruin the podium chasers’ night. The sustained pressure began to fade after twenty minutes and Lille took greater care of the ball, looking to try and take the sting out of the game. 

Traoré -seemingly at the heart of every dangerous attack for the home side – forced a late reflex save from Chevalier to keep Lille in third place. The goalkeeper to the disdain of the Nantes supporters went down who believed that he was just trying to waste some time. However, a few minutes later the young Frenchman was unable to continue and Vito Mannone was called into action for his league debut for Les Dogues

Lille looked shellshocked as the game ticked into injury time, and fears that another late comeback like in their defeat to Olympique Lyonnais on Monday came to the surface. Mannone was forced into a save as he blocked a powerful shot from Samuel Moutoussamy. Tempers began to flare and small running battles burst into life as soon as the ball would slip out of play. 

Ismaily’s recovery run swallowed one last chance for Nantes. The whistle blew and Lille would enter the final week of the campaign in third place. For Nantes, a defeat did not matter, FC Metz had fallen apart against RC Strasbourg. Four points would separate them from the relegation playoff spot. A rare game where both teams could celebrate.

Lille Player Ratings

Lucas Chevalier, 7 – Despite the goal, Chevalier was an assured presence for the away side making sure that the Nantes pressure did not transform into a worrying scoreline. An unfortunate situation saw the young Frenchman forced off the pitch. 

Ismaily, 5

Leny Yoro, 5

Bafodé Diakité, 7

Tiago Santos, 6

Nabil Bentaleb, 5

Benjamin André, 5

Angel Gomes, 6

Hákon Haraldsson, 5

Edon Zhegrova, 7 – The winger unsettled Lafont and was engaged in a long-running battle with the goalkeeper that looked more than once to spill over into heated words. He would be disappointed not to get on the scoresheet coming close twice in a dominant first half. 

Jonathan David, 7 – The forward was decisive in the first 15 minutes but fairly anonymous afterwards. Regardless, his double was crucial and puts Lille a step closer to automatic qualification to the Champions League. 

Nantes Selected Player Ratings

Bénie Traoré, 7

Alban Lafont, 5

Matthis Abline, 6 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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