Lille and Lens, five stories of a derby

May 9, 1948, Coupe de France (final): Lille – Lens, 3-2

The two clubs faced each other several times in the Coupe de France, some of these encounters were Homeric and the latter has also seen the Sang et Or, led 2-0, overthrow the Mastiffs thanks to an immense Seko Fofana (2- 2 ap, 4-3 on pens, January 4, 2022). But their main opponent in the event was… the very first! For the only time in the history of the competition, the neighbors face each other in the final, and the tension continues into the 86th minute.

In front of 60,739 spectators in Colombes, a record at the time, the two teams were 2-2 when goalkeeper Witkowski went long distance. In the fight with Golinski, Jean Baratte recovers the ball before cheating Duffuler (3-2, 86th). But a controversy ensues: the attacker appears to have made a mistake after beating the defender with a nudge. Who cares LOSC: Winner of the event for the third time in a row, equaling Red Star’s record in 1921, 1922 and 1923.

The joy of Lille after their victory in the Coupe de France in 1948. (L'Équipe)

The joy of Lille after their victory in the Coupe de France in 1948. (L’Équipe)

February 5, 1977 (24th day): Lille – Lens, 0-1

We only play on the 24th day, but Lille, having fallen in the standings, absolutely has to win to believe in his chances of maintenance. Played in a Grimonprez stadium half acquired for his opponent’s cause, this match will put an end to his hopes. Already a winner in the first leg (4-2), Lens won in this derby where LOSC was inefficient, like this post found by Parizon in a tight corner (32nd).

Twelve minutes earlier, Françoise scored the only goal of the game, with a “mine” in Chemier’s goal (20th). The missed penalty in the second half by Bousdira, the midfielder of Sang et Or who fended off his attempt from the goalkeeper, does not change that. Future vice-champion of France, Racing brought its host to his knees. “Lens and Françoise condemn Lille”title by the way The team in his report. The LOSC will finish 19th, far from the first no-relegation.

Daniel Leclercq and Lens are doing very badly that day with Lille.  (The team)

Daniel Leclercq and Lens are doing very badly that day with Lille. (The team)

April 26, 1997 (34th day), Lens – Lille: 1-0

This time, both teams are in danger of relegation. Only five points separate Lens, 15th for this encounter, from Lille, 17th. But their orbits have opposite curves. The Mastiffs, defeated in the last four days, are in free fall and the replacement of Jean-Michel Cavalli by Hervé Gauthier is not having the desired effect. It’s quite the opposite in Lens, where the appointment as coach of Roger Lemerre instead of Slavo Muslin has done a world of good to the Sang et Or in full recovery.

This meeting marks a decisive turning point in the battle for maintenance. In the 24th minute, Philippe Brunel knocks out Jean-Marie Aubry and delivers the Félix-Bollaert Stadium (1-0), which hadn’t seen a win for his protégés in the derby in 12 years. But the main thing is elsewhere. With this result, the Lensois are definitively stepping out of the red zone where they are sending Lille for the first time this season. LOSC no longer comes out: 18, it returns to D2, 19 years later.

May 10, 2008 (37th day), Lille – Lens: 2-1

“A derby for life”, headline The team in his presentation proof of the extreme importance of this encounter. Despite the presence of players like Carrière, Monterrubio, Hilton, Aruna or Loïc Rémy, Lens, 17th, plays his future with his neighbor Lille, 5th and in the race for continental qualification. Well compensated by Mavuba, Cabaye opened the scoring before the break (43rd), Frau doubled the lead after the hour (2-0, 66th) and when Monterrubio reduced the penalty almost immediately (2-1, 69th), the score doesn’t change Lake.

The formation of Jean-Pierre Papin and Daniel Leclercq dropped to 18th place before the final day, but Gervais Martel wanted to have confidence. “This defeat does not condemn us”, says the chairman of the RCL. He’s wrong. Ten years after the title of champion, Lens takes over the lead of the L2 after the last draw against Bordeaux (2-2). Hanged by his side in Lorient (1-1), LOSC lets Europa escape, having plunged his rival into the abyss.

Eric Carrière's distress, as Lens slides into Ligue 2 (P. Lablatinière / L'Équipe)

Eric Carrière’s distress, as Lens slides into Ligue 2 (P. Lablatinière / L’Équipe)

May 7, 2021 (36th day), Lens – Lille: 0-3

The stakes are high for this game. In the battle for the title, Lille could abandon its lead on a bad result, such as Lens who has abandoned the idea of ​​a possible European Cup qualification. For the Sang et Or, barely back in the elite, it’s time to party: the fans blow the heat by the thousands, in a formidable procession, accompanying the coach of their protégés to the stadium.

But the cold shower is almost instant. From the first minute, Lille took advantage of a penalty converted by Yilmaz (4th), Lens was then reduced to ten after Michelin’s expulsion (35th), and the Turk ended the tension before half-time with a monstrous attack from the left (2 -0, 40e). In the second half, David increased the score (3-0, 60th). The victory is clear, but the Lensois bitterly criticize Clément Turpin’s arbitration. “I have the impression that we are criminals”,,Jean-Louis Leca even got furious at a press conference. For LOSC, the hardest part is over: two weeks later they are champions for the fourth time in their history.