Lens (France) (AFP)
Ligue 1 leader Lille kept their cool to win 3-0 over local rival Lens on Friday and put the pressure on their pursuers who will play later in the weekend.
Lille took control early when veteran Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz converted a penalty in the second minute.
They sailed to victory after Lens defender Clément Michelin was sent off for the second time from the North Derby this season.
Lille have two more games to play and the victory puts them four points ahead of defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, visiting Rennes on Sunday night.
Monaco, third, is eight points behind with three games to go.
Lens, meanwhile, relinquished their guaranteed place in the Europa League, dropping under Marseille on goal difference.
Lille pressed from the start and won a penalty after 62 seconds as Seko Fofana and Jonathan Clauss launched into a challenge over Jonathan Bamba.
Yilmaz, 35, broke the kickoff from inside the post.
Michelin, who was one of two Lens players sent off after Lens lost 4-0 to Lille in October, received their first yellow card for a tackle from behind on Yilmaz after 29 minutes.
He picked up second place for jumping into Mehmet Zeki Celik rather than contesting a header after 35 minutes.
Yilmaz punished the home side five minutes later with a fierce, curling long-range practice that left goalie Jean-Louis Leca caught off guard as he flew into the top corner.
Lille added a third after 60 minutes. Leca parried a Bamba shot straight to Jonathan David who scored.
As the normally heated derby was played out in an empty stadium, supporters from both clubs showed their support ahead of the game.
Thousands of Lille fans gave their team bus a noisy start on its 35 kilometer drive to Lens, while a crowd of local supporters gathered outside the stadium.
© 2021 AFP