Lens Fans Invade Pitch, Start Brawl With Lille Fans During Rare Derby Win
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LENS, France — A second-half goal from Przemyslaw Frankowski earned RC Lens their first victory over Lille in 15 years as they moved up to provisional second place in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win after a derby marred by crowd trouble on Saturday.
Frankowski's strike ended a 12-game winless streak for Lens against the French champions, who had beaten them 4-0 and 3-0 last season.
The result put the "Sang et Or" (Blood and Gold) on 12 points from six games, three behind Paris St Germain, who will play their match in hand at home against Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday.
Lille, who have only one win this season, are 13th on five points.
"We had chances but we did not convert them. We play some good games but we lacked that killer instinct," said Lille midfielder Benjamin Andre.
The second half started late following a 30-minute suspension after some Lens supporters ran onto the pitch towards Lille's corner, where a brawl erupted. Riot police and stewards intervened before the game resumed under police supervision.
RC Lens fans invaded the pitch at halftime to confront the Lille Fans!
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) September 18, 2021
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) September 18, 2021
Crazy scenes in Ligue 1 as Lens fans storm onto the pitch to confront Lille supporters pic.twitter.com/xEKDPjo3B1— Goal (@goal) September 18, 2021
Lens, who rejoined Ligue 1 last season after five years in Ligue 2, had dominated the first half with Gael Kakuta and Florian Sotoca testing Ivo Grbic twice in a tense contest in which Lille threatened on the break.
But both sides lacked sharpness in the area.
Lens enjoyed possession and played some neat passing football, but Lille were the most dangerous side early in the second half with Burak Yilmaz coming close with a downward header.
Lens keeper Jean-Louis Leca then pulled off three saves in quick succession to deny Jonathan Ikone, Yilmaz and Jonathan David in the 67th minute.
In the 74th minute, Kakuta found Frankowski with a slick pass, and the Poland winger beat Grbic in clinical fashion with an angled shot.
Lens vs. Lille Highlights
The hosts thought they had a second five minutes later, but Wesley Said's strike was cancelled following a VAR review in which Kakuta was judged to be offside.
Nevertheless Lens held firm until the final whistle, which prompted wild celebrations in the stands.
"It's an incredible feeling that we can't explain. We are so proud, we did it for the fans. Last year we lacked experience and we were without the supporters. We were too emotional," said Lens midfielder Seko Fofana.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)