Lens beats Lille after match interrupted by fan violence

·3 min read

PARIS (AP) — The French league match between Lens and defending champion Lille was interrupted for about 30 minutes when fans from the northern rivals clashed at halftime on Saturday.

After the first half ended, a large group of Lens supporters invaded the field and ran to the away section where they fought with Lille fans. Riot police and stewards intervened and escorted them off the field. An emergency meeting took place to decide whether the match at Stade Bollaert should continue.

But after the second half got underway there was no further disorder and Lens won 1-0. Lens is unbeaten under coach Franck Haise and up to second place.

Lille has won only once and the pressure is growing on coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, whose side is 13th and has conceded 12 goals in six games.

It is the second high-profile incident of the season in France following serious disorder at the Nice-Marseille game in August which was suspended for 90 minutes and called off. Nice fans stormed the field and punches were exchanged with players and staff from Marseille. It is rescheduled for Oct. 27.

American winger Timothy Weah recovered from a thigh injury and went on in the 62nd minute for Lille and a first appearance since Aug. 21. Weah, a son of Liberia president and former FIFA player of the year George Weah, had missed three World Cup qualifiers.

Veteran striker Burak Yilmaz went close to scoring for Lille midway through the second half when he flashed a header just over the crossbar from Benjamin Andre's cross.

Moments later, Yilmaz was thwarted by goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca diving at his feet.

Those missed chances proved costly when Poland midfielder Przemysław Frankowski struck in the 73rd after being set up by Gael Kakuta. It was Frankowski's first goal since joining from Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire.

After forward Wesley Saïd had a second goal for Lille ruled out for offside following a video replay, Leca denied Yilmaz again as he broke through in stoppage time.

Also, South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo scored early and grabbed the late winner as Bordeaux won at Saint-Etienne 2-1 to secure its first win and move off the bottom into 14th spot.

Saint-Etienne, which equalized through forward Wahbi Khazri in the 72nd, is one of three teams yet to win a game and is in 19th place.

SUNDAY’S GAMES

Lionel Messi is set for his home debut as leader Paris Saint-Germain goes for a sixth straight win when it faces Lyon.

Messi played his first full game midweek in the 0-0 draw at Club Brugge, but the Parc des Princes crowd is set for a first glimpse of him after his surprise move from Barcelona.

PSG striker Kylian Mbappe awaits a fitness test on Sunday morning after twisting his ankle against Brugge.

Elsewhere, unbeaten Nice hosts struggling Monaco in the French Riviera derby and third-placed Angers takes on Nantes.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press

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