Lens beats Lille on penalties to reach French Cup last 16
LENS, France (AP) — Captain Seko Fofana equalized in the last seconds of injury time and then scored the winning penalty in a shootout as Lens beat northern rival Lille to reach the last 16 of the French Cup on Tuesday.
Belgian midfielder Amadou Onana scored his first goals for Lille to put the visitors up 2-0 at halftime, but Fofana grabbed his second deep into the fifth minute of stoppage time to make it 2-2 and force a shootout.
Lille’s veteran captain Jose Fonte dragged his penalty wide. Lens defender Jonathan Clauss had his shot saved, only for Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches to see his effort stopped. That gave Fofana a chance to win it and his scuffed effort went in off the left post to make it 4-3 on penalties.
Yusuf Yazici had hit the crossbar early on for Lille when offseason signing Onana headed in from close range in the 29th minute, after Lens failed to clear Tiago Djalo’s cross from the right flank.
Lille profited from another swift counterattack four minutes later when Onana scored from Jonathan Bamba’s pass.
Fofana pulled one back midway through the second half, driving a shot inside the post, and his strike from the edge of the penalty area went in off the post — a sign of things to come.
The teams are closely matched in the league table, with defending champion Lille in eighth place and Lens one point behind in ninth at the halfway stage of the season.
There were only 5,000 fans because of coronavirus restrictions, and there were no Lille fans allowed after violent disorder during their league game in September.
It was interrupted for about 30 minutes when fans from the northern rivals clashed at halftime. A large group of Lens supporters ran to the away section where they fought with Lille fans in the latest violent incident to mar French soccer this season.
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