- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

LILLE, France (AP) - Lille extended a poor run of form in the French league by drawing 1-1 at home with Rennes on Friday to stay third.

Salomon Kalou opened the scoring for the hosts with a close-range header in the 34th minute before Rennes midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure volleyed home the equalizer in the 41st.

Lille earned 14 clean sheets from its first 16 league games to look like a potential title contender. But it has dropped 10 points and conceded seven goals in its last four league games to trail leader Paris Saint-Germain by nine points.

“We must try to create more chances, we can’t always rely on our defense,” Kalou said.

Lille forward Nolan Roux charged down the right wing to provide a low cross for Kalou, who controlled the ball with a poor first touch but reacted quickly enough to head in from five yards (meters) for his seventh goal in the league this season.

The hosts dominated the first half and should have reached halftime with a bigger lead as Rennes poorly defended set pieces.

Lille paid the price when Doucoure converted a pinpoint cross from Romain Alessandrini to level against the run of play and Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil pulled off a string of brilliant saves in the second half to secure a point.

“In our situation, we could have given up quickly, but that was not the case,” Rennes coach Philippe Montanier said. “We showed a great solidarity.”

Rennes sits in 15th place, seven points above the relegation zone.

On Saturday, it’s: Guingamp vs. Paris Saint-Germain; Ajaccio vs. Sochaux; Montpellier vs. Nice; Nantes vs. Reims; Toulouse vs. Bastia; and Valenciennes vs. Lorient.

On Sunday, Monaco hosts Marseille, Saint-Etienne visits Bordeaux and Lyon faces Evian.



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