- Associated Press - Friday, January 13, 2017

PARIS (AP) - Substitute Nicolas De Preville came off the bench to score a superb goal as Lille rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Saint-Etienne in the French league on Friday.

De Preville had been on the pitch two minutes when he dribbled past four players and struck a powerful shot into the top left corner from the edge of the area in the 71st minute, drawing applause from long-serving Lille president Michel Seydoux, who was overseeing his 721st and last match.

Seydoux, a French businessman and film producer, has been president since 2002, and under his guidance Lille was transformed from a modest club into a competitive one with vastly improved resources and infrastructure.

Lille qualified six times for the Champions League during his tenure and clinched the league and cup double in 2011. The club’s youth system also flourished, producing players such as Chelsea star Eden Hazard and France midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

He is handing over to Luxembourg-born businessman Gerard Lopez, the president of the finance group Genii Capital and formerly the president of the Lotus Formula One team. Wearing red-and-white Lille scarves and sitting next to each other in the stands, they hugged at the final whistle.

Seydoux’s farewell was almost ruined, however, as Saint-Etienne dominated for long spells after winger Romain Hamouma scored in the 17th, smacking home a cross from the left.

Saint-Etienne is in eighth place and Lille 12th ahead of this weekend’s games.

On Saturday, defending champion Paris Saint-Germain looks to get its title challenge back on track with a win at Rennes.

PSG lost four league games during the first half of the season - twice as many as all of last season - and is in third place, three points behind Monaco and five behind leader Nice.

They play on Sunday, with Nice hosting struggling Metz, and Monaco traveling to play sixth-place Marseille.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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