MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 18:15:36| >> :600:5870311:5870311:
Feb 21, 2021 at 4.05pm UK at Stade du Moustoir
LorientLorient
1-4
LilleLille
Hergault (23')
Lemoine (61'), Monconduit (70')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Gravillon (21' og.), Fonte (38'), Ikone (59'), Bradaric (90+1')

Preview: Lorient vs. Lille - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Lille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Lorient will somehow attempt to continue their unforeseen revival in Ligue 1 this Sunday when they welcome second-placed Lille to the Stade du Moustoir.

The hosts managed to take a point from their clash with Monaco last time out, whereas Lille go into this game following an agonising Europa League defeat to Ajax.


Match preview

Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Had it not been for a last-minute equaliser from Wissam Ben Yedder, Lorient would have enjoyed yet another magnificent victory over a title-chasing team in Monaco, but they ultimately had to settle for a point as their resurgence continues in the top flight.

Ben Yedder may have bagged a brace on the day, but Lorient's in-form striker Terem Moffi also chipped in with a double of his own, and the 21-year-old now boasts seven goals from his last eight outings in the league. Keeping Moffi fit, well and firing on all cylinders will be key for Lorient as they aim to surge further up the Ligue 1 table in the coming weeks.

Since making their return from a major coronavirus outbreak, Lorient have won four and drawn two in all competitions - scoring 12 goals in their last six outings - and victory over Lille would mark their fourth home triumph on the bounce in the league, a feat they last achieved in the 2007-08 campaign.

Les Merlus have now propelled themselves above the dotted line and are five clear of the automatic relegation places, but Nantes - who lie in the relegation playoff spot - are one point behind and would temporarily overtake Lorient if they beat Marseille on Saturday.

However, Christophe Pelissier's men have already beaten Paris Saint-Germain and drawn with Monaco in 2021, so there is no reason why the hosts cannot stop another title hopeful in their tracks, especially when the team in question just suffered a disheartening defeat on the European stage.

Lille coach Christophe Galtier in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

Lille's chances of advancing to the Europa League last 16 are already under serious threat, as the Ligue 1 leaders came up second best against Eredivisie leaders Ajax, who take a 2-1 first-leg lead back to Amsterdam.

There was an air of controversy over the penalty which Dusan Tadic comfortably dispatched, but one cannot question that Ajax were by far the stronger team on the night and fully merited their two away goals, and Christophe Galtier did not hold back in his post-match press conference, understandably so.

Thursday's defeat ended a run of eight games unbeaten and six consecutive clean sheets across all competitions for Lille, with last weekend's 0-0 draw with Brest not doing their title hopes any good, but they remain one point clear of Paris Saint-Germain as Lyon and Monaco also lost ground in the race for glory last weekend.

Les Dogues are at risk of going three games without a win for the first time since November, but they have shipped only one goal in their last seven league outings and have lost just one of their last 15 in the French top flight - winning six in a row away from home.

However, Galtier's men have been knocked off their perch after Lyon beat Brest on Friday, and they are facing a Lorient side whom they crushed 4-0 earlier in the season, although the hosts are certainly a force to be reckoned with in 2021.

Lorient Ligue 1 form: LWWDWD
Lorient form (all competitions): WWDWWD

Lille Ligue 1 form: WWWWWD
Lille form (all competitions): WWWWDL


Team News

Yusuf Yazici celebrates with Lille teammates after scoring against AC Milan on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Lorient are still waiting for their final two COVID-affected players - Paul Nardi and Vincent Le Goff - to return to action, but the latter has been training well and could make his comeback here.

There is less optimism over the fitness of Nardi, and a late call on the goalkeeper is set to be made tomorrow, but Matthieu Dreyer will not want to relinquish his spot either way.

Indeed, it would be a shock to see Pelissier disrupt the harmony at all given the way that his team have been playing in recent weeks.

Galtier may opt for a double change in midfield as Benjamin Andre and Xeka are both back from suspensions served in the Europa League, which means that Renato Sanches and Boubakary Soumare may make way.

Burak Yilmaz is still working his way back from a calf problem, but Galtier is in a predicament with his striking options regardless after Timothy Weah opened the scoring against Ajax.

With Yusuf Yazici not quite at his best after a recent return from injury, the visiting manager may hand Weah a start up top alongside Jonathan David.

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Dreyer; Delaplace, Laporte, Gravillon, Morel, Le Goff; Le Fee, Abergel, Monconduit, Wissa; Moffi

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Andre, Xeka, Bamba; David, Weah


SM words green background

We say: Lorient 1-1 Lille

Lille have not exactly been blowing teams away recently despite their strong form, and it is very difficult to back against Lorient amid their hugely impressive turnaround. The hosts will be well-rested, unlike Lille, who are sure to be fatigued and still lamenting their late defeat to Ajax, so we can see Lorient's unbeaten streak lasting a little while longer with a hard-fought draw on Sunday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

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SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
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· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
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FOOTBALL
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