Neymar was sent off late on as a limping Jonathan David scored the only goal to give Lille a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in their Ligue 1 title showdown on Saturday, a result that moves them three points clear at the top.
Canadian striker David was struggling with an ankle injury when he fired home in the 20th minute. He was forced off soon after and emerged on crutches to watch the second half with heavy strapping where he had been caught by Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Without him Lille held on to beat PSG in a league game in the capital for the first time in a quarter of a century, with a frustrating afternoon for the hosts summed up when Neymar was sent off at the death.
The Brazilian and Lille defender Tiago Djalo were both shown second yellow cards and dismissed following a shoving match. It is Neymar’s second sending-off this season and his fourth since moving to France in a world-record deal in 2017.
The result sees Lille take a big step towards a first Ligue 1 title in a decade, just before the Qatari takeover of PSG which changed the face of French football.
It would be a remarkable achievement for the club from France’s far north to pip the Parisians, who have won seven of the last eight league crowns and face Bayern Munich away in their Champions League quarter-final first leg in midweek.
“We are top and we are in the fight, but so are Lyon, Paris and Monaco. There is not much in it,” admitted Lille coach Christophe Galtier.
PSG have now suffered three straight home league losses for the first time since 2007, and they trail Lille by three points with seven games left.
Monaco are another point behind in third after beating Metz 4-0, while Lyon are contenders too — they can reclaim third spot and go level on points with PSG by beating Lens later.
Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG had been fancied to ease to another league title after winning 4-2 in Lyon before the recent international break, but this result raises doubts about their credentials.
They have taken just one point from four games against Lille and Monaco this season. Lyon also beat them in Paris.
“I am disappointed with the result and at losing three important points. I am not worried but we will need to keep fighting to the end,” said Pochettino.
“We are an inconsistent side for lots of reasons but we are working to fix that.”
– Ben Yedder scores twice in Monaco win –
PSG may still fancy their chances of avenging last season’s defeat in the Champions League final when they face a Bayern side missing the injured Robert Lewandowski.
However they will need to perform far better than they did here against a well organised Lille side who survived an early scare before scoring.
Mike Maignan turned Kylian Mbappe’s shot around the post not long before the goal arrived from the visitors’ first attack.
Jonathan Ikone picked out David whose shot from 12 yards deflected in off Thilo Kehrer for his 10th of the season.
The 21-year-old striker was replaced by Timothy Weah before half-time, while Lille held on at the other end, with Neymar having one shot saved by Maignan in the second half and then heading wide from a Marquinhos cross.
Lille might have scored a second as Burak Yilmaz was denied by Keylor Navas after a counter-attack.
Monaco scored all their goals in the second half against a Metz side who finished with 10 men.
Cesc Fabregas scored a penalty and Kevin Volland netted his 14th of the season before France striker Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to crash in the third.
Ben Yedder scored again from the spot late on, taking his tally for the season to 15 goals, after Metz captain John Boye was shown a second yellow card for fouling Gelson Martins.
“If we keep going in this direction maybe there is something possible for us,” Monaco coach Niko Kovac told Canal Plus of his side’s title chances.