Lens close in on Champions League spot with Lorient win

Lens players celebrate after scoring a goal against Lorient in Ligue 1.
Lens players celebrate after scoring a goal against Lorient in Ligue 1.
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Lens took a huge step towards securing an automatic spot in the Champions League group stage when they claimed a 3-1 comeback win at Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Florian Sotoca, Adrien Thomasson and Seko Fofana struck after Romain Faivre's opener for Lorient as second-placed Lens, on 78 points, opened a five-point lead over third-placed Marseille with two games left this season.

Lens's victory also delayed Paris Saint-Germain's expected title celebrations. PSG can move six points clear with two games remaining if they beat lowly AJ Auxerre later on Sunday.

The first two teams in Ligue 1 qualify for the Champions League group stage while the third-placed side enters the competition in the third qualifying round.

Lorient are 10th 52 points.

"We spent some energy watching the [Marseille] game so it was not easy but at the end of the day we managed to control our emotions, especially after conceding that first goal," said Fofana.

Faivre put the hosts in front in the sixth minute when he intercepted a weak throw-in from Facundo Medina to Brice Samba and went on to beat the keeper.

Lens, however, reacted swiftly and it took them 14 minutes to equalise as Sotoca's strike from just inside the box took a slight deflection off a defender and went past Yvon Mvogo.

Five minutes later, Thomassson intercepted a poor pass by Gedeon Kalulu and fired past Mvogo to put the visitors ahead.

Franck Haises's side played with more caution after the break and Lorient went close to levelling five minutes from time when Ibrahima Kone's header was blocked on his goal line by Samba.

It was all over three minutes from time when Fofana finished off a swift counter-attack in clinical fashion for his team's 23rd win of the season.