Yusuf Yazici scored what proved to be the winner as Lille beat fellow title hopefuls Monaco 2-1 on Sunday to retake second place in Ligue 1 and increase the pressure on leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Christophe Galtier’s men dug deep at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy to end Monaco’s four-match winning streak and move back to two points behind reigning champions PSG.
Marseille are two points further back in third, but have two games in hand. Fourth-placed Lyon could move level on points with Lille when they visit Metz later on Sunday.
“This result is important because we were facing a direct competitor and we hadn’t won much recently,” said Lille coach Galtier.
“When I see what Paris did on Saturday, by beating Montpellier despite rotating eight players, I tell myself that it remains PSG (as title favourites).
“To be very honest, I look at what is happening behind us… There is a terrible fight with Monaco, Marseille, Lyon or Montpellier.”
Lille, who were held to a draw by struggling Saint-Etienne last weekend, had the best chance of the opening half but Jonathan Bamba’s strike was well saved by away goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Lille broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Jonathan Ikone avoided two challenges on the edge of the area before slipping a pass through for Canadian striker Jonathan David to score.
The hosts doubled their advantage midway through the second half as Turkish internationals Burak Yilmaz and Yazici combined, with the latter slotting in from close range.
Yazici, who was introduced as a substitute three minutes before his goal, has scored four times in the league this season despite only starting twice.
Pietro Pellegri pulled one back for Monaco in the 90th minute, but there was not enough time for an equaliser.
The principality club sit fifth, five points behind PSG, who saw off Montpellier 3-1 on Saturday.
“It would have deserved to end in a draw, so I am inevitably disappointed,” said Monaco boss Niko Kovac.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Saint-Etienne’s winless league run extended to nine matches with a goalless draw at Dijon.
Strasbourg moved out of the relegation zone with a thumping 4-0 success over Nantes, while Hatem Ben Arfa scored a late winner as Bordeaux edged Brest 1-0.
Nice laboured to a 0-0 stalemate at Reims in their first match since sacking Patrick Vieira as coach.