Canada’s Jonathan David continued his recent scoring streak with a brace as Lille beat struggling Nantes 2-0 on Sunday to reclaim top spot in Ligue 1 and turn up the pressure on champions Paris Saint-Germain in the French title race.
David netted before and after the break at the Stade de la Beaujoire to take his tally to five goals in as many games and hand Lille a sixth consecutive win.
The outfit from far northern France are two points ahead of second-placed Lyon, who had gone top on Saturday after beating Strasbourg 3-0 with two goals from Memphis Depay either side of one from Karl Toko-Ekambi.
PSG are now six points off the pace in third but Mauricio Pochettino’s side play later on Sunday at bitter rivals Marseille, while Monaco in fourth are only behind the Parisians on goal difference after winning 4-3 at Nimes.
David pounced on a defensive mix-up to put Lille in front from close range early on, and the US-born forward secured the points with a fantastic second goal seven minutes from time.
After being picked out in the middle by Timothy Weah, David played a one-two with Renato Sanches before firing high into the net for his seventh goal altogether this season.
Nantes are in the bottom three having gone 15 matches without a win, including seven games under Raymond Domenech, the veteran former France coach who was appointed in December.
– Seven in a row for Monaco –
Earlier on Sunday, Aleksandr Golovin scored a hat-trick on his first start since August as Monaco defeated bottom club Nimes in a seven-goal thriller to extend their winning league run to seven matches.
The Russia midfielder, who missed four months of the season with a thigh injury, volleyed Monaco in front inside three minutes, sliding to guide in Fode Ballo-Toure’s flighted cross.
Golovin produced an even better finish to double Monaco’s lead on 12 minutes, powering into the roof of the net from a tight angle after another Ballo-Toure assist.
Lucas Deaux pulled a goal back for Nimes after fine work along the byline from Zinedine Ferhat, who then drew the home side level after Renaud Ripart’s shot rebounded to the Algerian off the post.
Golovin put Monaco back ahead on the hour, his curving free-kick nestling in the far corner. He then released Kevin Volland to notch a fourth goal with a tidy dink over the advancing Baptiste Reynet.
Niclas Eliasson’s superb free-kick came in vain for a Nimes side that lies seven points from guaranteed safety at the foot of the table.
Despite their fine form, Monaco coach Niko Kovac dismissed suggestions his side could win the title.
“The difference between us and the three teams above us is we are conceding too many goals,” former Bayern Munich coach Kovac told Canal Plus.
“If you want to be champion, or if you want to fight for the title, you need a better balance and we have to work for sure on our defensive skills.”
Sunday’s late game between Marseille and PSG will be the 100th meeting of the teams in all competitions.
Marseille’s 67,000-capacity Velodrome will be empty for the match due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the Mediterranean city is still on edge after several hundred supporters attacked the club’s training ground last weekend.
Their game against Rennes last Saturday was postponed, and three days later coach Andre Villas-Boas was suspended by the club — the first step in the legal process of sacking the Portuguese — after he declared at a press conference he wanted to resign.