Openda scores as Lens moves into second place, Auxerre wins
PARIS (AP) — Loïs Openda scored the only goal as Lens won 1-0 at Rennes to move into second place in the French league on Saturday.
Second spot secures automatic qualification for the Champions League. It promises to be a tight race as northern side Lens leads third-place Marseille on goal difference with nine rounds of matches remaining for both sides.
Openda headed in a cross from fellow forward Florian Sotoca in the 31st minute to give Lens the lead. It was the 23-year-old Belgium striker's 15th league goal in his first season with Lens.
Rennes almost equalized one minute later when winger Benjamin Bourigeaud's deflected shot was blocked by defender Facundo Medina and hit the crossbar.
Bourigeaud went close near the end with another deflected strike, which was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Brice Samba.
In Saturday's other league game, former AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang scored in the 73rd as Auxerre beat fellow struggler Troyes 1-0 to move out of the relegation zone and into 16th place.
Leader Paris Saint-Germain can move nine points clear of Lens with a home win against midtable Lyon on Sunday.
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The Associated Press