Lille (pictured) and Toulouse both won their Ligue 1 matches ahead of their crucial Europa League fixtures. Lille enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 victory over Saint-Étienne and Toulouse beat Sochaux 2-0.
AFP - France's Europa League representatives Lille and Toulouse both warmed up for crucial matches in the competition with comfortable victories in their rescheduled domestic league fixtures on Thursday.
Lille, who need to beat Slavia Prague in their final Europa League group stage match next week to book a place in the knockout phase, won 4-0 at home to struggling Saint-Etienne.
Toulouse will travel to Club Brugge next Wednesday needing a win to make sure of a spot in the last 32 of Europe's second-tier cup competition and they defeated Sochaux 2-0 thanks to a quick-fire brace from French international striker Andre-Pierre Gignac.
"We're on an interesting run, mathematically," said Lille coach Rudi Garcia, whose side beat Lyon 4-3 last weekend and have won five of their last six games in the league.
"Our 15 points from (a possible) 18 have allowed us to re-position ourselves in the top half of the table. It's interesting to play before the others and see what happens. We're at Monaco on Sunday. We must perform away from home as we do at home."
Both winning sides jumped up the Ligue 1 standings, with Lille climbing from 10th to eighth and Toulouse rising three places to ninth.
"This victory should give us confidence for our next matches," said Toulouse manager Alain Casanova.
"I want to underline that we have only two fewer points than we had at the same stage last season (when they finished fourth), despite all the injuries that have handicapped us."
Saint-Etienne remain fourth from bottom, three points above the relegation zone, while Sochaux are four points better off in 15th.
Lille took a 33rd-minute lead against Saint-Etienne when Pierre-Alain Frau finished a slick move by sweeping home skipper Rio Cabaye's cutback from 12 yards before Yohan Cabaye made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
Gervinho made sure of the points by thrashing home from a corner with 18 minutes to play and Adil Rami curled in a 30-yard free-kick after visiting centre-back Yohan Benalouane had been sent off for two yellow card offences.
The alertness of Gignac enabled Toulouse to take control of their match at the Stadium Municipal in the early stages of the second period.
Both of his strikes followed defensive mistakes, with Gignac pouncing on a 49th-minute error from Jacques Faty for his first and seizing on a loose pass from Ivan Stevanovic two minutes later to claim his second.
All four sides are also in league action on Sunday, with Lille visiting Monaco, Saint-Etienne travelling to Paris Saint-Germain, Sochaux hosting bottom club Grenoble and Toulouse taking on surprise package Montpellier.
Date created : 2009-12-11