Ajorque lifts Strasbourg fourth in Ligue 1

PARIS: Ludovic Ajorque scored the only goal from the penalty spot as Strasbourg moved fourth in Ligue 1 on Sunday with a 1-0 win over European rivals Lens.

The Alsatians extended their unbeaten run to eight matches to move ahead of Nice on goal difference after the Riviera side were held 1-1 at home against second-placed Rennes on Saturday.

Strasbourg are two points behind Rennes.

Leaders Paris Saint-Germain have a 12-point cushion at the top of the league before their match later Sunday at relegation-threatened Saint-Etienne.

Eight days before the end of the season, Julien Stephan’s Strasbourg can more than ever hope to qualify for Europe.

For Lens, eighth with 44 points, the European dream could be over after a tenth defeat this season and second in a month.

Strasbourg piled on the pressure in the first half, but Len’s goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca denied Frédéric Guilbert their only goalscoring chance before the break.

The tie came alive after the break with David Pereira Da Costa missing a big chance for Lens while alone in the box after 51 minutes.

Lens midfielder Seko Fofana tried his luck from a distance but home goalkeeper Matz Sels blocked on the hour.

Strasbourg got their chance when Pole Przemyslaw Frankowski’s elbow diverted a Guilbert cross.

Ajorque converted the penalty on 66 minutes for his 11th goal of the season, and first in almost three months.

In the process, the Reunion striker forced a new penalty after being fouled by Leca, but the Corsican goalkeeper this time denied Kevin Gameiro from the spot minutes later.

Strasbourg held on for the three points despite a late Lens onslaught. – AFP