Lille move closer to safety with derby win
LENS, March 11 (Ligue 1) - Lille eased their relegation fears with a deserved victory over Lens in Ligue 1's derby of the north on Tuesday.
Michel Bastos and Franck Beria scored either side of the break for the visitors, who conceded a late goal to Vitorino Hilton but held on to climb five points clear of the drop zone.
A below-par Lens remain just two points off third-bottom Sochaux and are now winless in five league matches.
Neither side were unable to field their January signings in this match that had been rearranged after the original fixture back in December was postponed because of a frozen pitch.
Lens were particularly affected by those absentees, especially with two of them - forwards Loic Remy and Toifilou Maoulida - performing impressively of late.
They were slow out of the traps and fell behind in the 17th minute.
Moments earlier, home goalkeeper Vedran Runje had embarrassingly fumbled Bastos' cross from the left into his own net, but the assistant referee adjudged the centre to have drifted out of play.
Bastos was not to be denied and after Kevin Mirallas' cross was poorly dealt with by Yohan Demont, the winger capitalised by firing a low, right-footed shot into the corner.
Lille should have put the game to bed at the start of the second half, with Yohan Cabaye, Bastos and Ludovic Obraniak all having chances in a 20-minute spell of away dominance.
With a quarter of the match left, the Lens supporters were whistling their own team and their mood was not helped when Beria netted the killer second in the 83rd minute.
Mirallas escaped down the right and cut the ball back for the substitute to slide a finish home.
Hilton headed home a Demont corner with four minutes left but it was too little too late for Lens.