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Ikone rocket boosts Lille up to second

Paris (AFP) – Jonathan Ikone’s thunderous strike earned Lille a 2-1 victory over Nantes on Saturday that sent them second in Ligue 1 and maintained their strong start to the new season after narrowly avoiding relegation last term.

Portugal defender Jose Fonte scored his first Lille goal since joining from China’s Dalian Yifang in July with a looping header on nine minutes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Midfielder Ikone doubled Lille’s lead with a magnificent goal on 68 minutes, taking a delightful first touch to control a high ball before unleashing a scorching, dipping 25-yard shot past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Nantes grabbed a consolation through Kalifa Coulibaly as Lille, who finished just above the relegation play-off place last season, won for the fourth time in six games to draw to within two points of defending champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Thomas Tuchel’s league leaders visit Rennes on Sunday chasing a sixth win in a row in France, having lost 3-2 away to Liverpool in their opening game of the Champions League group stage in midweek.

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