Lille draws with Montpellier, remains ahead of PSG in Ligue 1

Lille's Luiz Araujo controls the ball during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Brest at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France. (Michel Spingler/AP)

PARIS -- Lille needed a late equalizer from Luiz Araujo to draw 1-1 at home to Montpellier on Friday and guarantee it will keep top spot in a close French title race, regardless of whether defending champion Paris Saint-Germain wins this weekend.

With time running out against a well-drilled and counterattacking Montpellier side, a loose ball fell to the Brazilian on the left of the penalty area and Araujo curled a superb shot past goalkeeper Jonas Omlin in the 84th minute.

Eighth-place Montpellier's main threat -- Teji Savanier providing for strikers Gaetan Laborde and Andy Delort -- caught Lille cold after 20 minutes.

The unselfish Laborde chased a pass down the right and whipped in a fine cross which the alert Delort met with a diving header.

He joined Laborde on 12 goals this season, a good total considering that Delort has twice tested positive for coronavirus during this season.

Lille is four points ahead of Champions League semifinalist PSG, which hosts an improving Saint-Etienne side on Sunday without the suspended Neymar.

There are five rounds remaining after this weekend's matches.

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