RC Lens won the Northern Derby against Lille OSC in Ligue 1 on Saturday with Przemyslaw Frankowski scoring the only goal of the game after 74 minutes at Stade Bollaert Delelis but a half-time clash between the two sets of supporters which delayed the game by 30 minutes is bound to get all the headlines.
It was goalless at the break when members of the home support charged onto the pitch to confront their visiting counterparts just weeks after OGC Nice and Olympique de Marseille had their Championnat clash abandoned in similarly ugly fashion.
Lens and Lille are bitter rivals, and this was the first Northern Derby with spectators present since RCL returned to the French top-flight with both of last season’s clashes played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 as LOSC finished champions.
Franck Haise’s men enjoyed a solid campaign of their own and narrowly missed out on European qualification and the 1998 Ligue 1 winners have also started strongly this term while the defending titleholders have struggled under new boss Jocelyn Gourvennec.
Eventually the match was restarted 30 minutes later than scheduled after the decision was taken to continue. Frankowski scored the only goal of the game 16 minutes from time after good work by Gael Kakuta while Wesley Said had a quick-fire second ruled out for offside to lift Lens provisionally into second spot behind Paris Saint-Germain.
However, due to Nice-Marseille being ordered to be replayed behind closed doors at a neutral venue, there will likely be clamor for the LFP governing body to take similar action against Lens due to their supporters.
The league’s disciplinary committee meet each midweek to discuss the previous week’s incidents and it is possible that any decisions will need a few more weeks for a final verdict to be reached, but this precious derby success will probably come at a cost for Lens.
Meanwhile, Lille find themselves in 13th with the possibility to fall further before the weekend is out as the champions struggle to build on last season’s success and made an underwhelming start to their UEFA Champions League campaign with a draw at home to 10-man VfL Wolfsburg.