Crisis deepens as Lille lose again in empty stadium

Paris (AFP) –


Crisis-hit Lille plunged closer to relegation from Ligue 1 on Sunday with a 1-0 home loss to Amiens at an empty Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Ordered to play behind closed doors after a violent pitch invasion last month, Lille's season took another turn for the worse as they lost to fellow strugglers Amiens to miss the chance to move out of the bottom two.

Lille brought in Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa in August in an attempt to return to Europe after a drop in fortunes since a French double in 2011, but the partnership went sour as Bielsa sued the club after being sacked due to a dreadful start to the campaign.

Bielsa brought in a number of new players, but won only three of his first 14 games and current coach Christophe Galtier saw a transfer ban imposed on the club in December for poor finances.

This was their eighth game without a win and they are second-bottom with seven games to go, one point adrift of Troyes, who occupy the relegation play-off place in 18th.

Lille have lodged charges against ten of their own fans for "aggravated violence, criminal damage and death threats", while Ligue 1 authorities will rule on Thursday what further sanctions the northern club will face for the crowd trouble.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Montpellier beat Caen 3-1 and Nice saw off Troyes 2-0 as both clubs drew level on points with fifth-placed Rennes in the fight for the Europa League places.

Fourth-placed Lyon play relegation-threatened Toulouse in the late match and Monaco travel to Rennes on Wednesday after they lost 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the League Cup final on Saturday.

Lucas Ocampos and Dimitri Payet struck in the final minutes as Marseille claimed a precious 3-1 win at Dijon in Ligue 1 on Saturday to strengthen their grip on the third and final Champions League spot.