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Lille win over Saint-Etienne to ease pressure on Bielsa

© AFP | Lille's Kevin Malcuit (L) vies with Saint-Etienne's Kevin Monnet-Paquet during a match at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium near Lille on November 17 2017

PARIS (AFP) - 

Lille beat Saint-Etienne 3-1 on Friday to ease the pressure on under-fire Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa and move out of the Ligue 1 relegation zone.

The second straight win dragged Lille out of the bottom two, having ended a nine-match winless streak with a 3-0 victory over Metz before the international break.

Saint-Etienne stay sixth in the table, after losing their first game under new coach Julien Sable since Oscar Garcia quit this week.

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe leapt highest at the back post to open the scoring in the 20th minute at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy with his third goal in two matches.

Jonathan Bamba fired home a penalty on the stroke of half-time to equalise for the visitors, but the hosts retook the lead in the 71st minute.

Brazilian Thiago Mendes proved the difference, as the 25-year-old midfielder curled into the bottom corner from outside the area to score his second goal for Lille since joining from Sao Paulo in the close season.

Striker Ezequiel Ponce added some gloss to the scoreline with a minute of normal time to play as he slotted in his first goal since signing on loan from Roma.

© 2017 AFP