PARIS (AP) — Defending champion Lille needed an equalizer in the last seconds of stoppage time to secure a 3-3 draw at Metz in a thrilling French league game on Sunday.
Veteran Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz collected the ball in Lille’s counterattack, broke down the left, cut inside a defender and saw his low shot clip the goalkeeper’s leg and loop over the line in the sixth minute of added time.
Yilmaz scored several crucial goals in Lille’s title run last season and celebrated wildly in front of the visiting Lille fans, who saw their side lead 1-0 and then trail 3-1.
In Sunday’s late game, former France midfielder Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Montpellier.
The match was halted by the referee in the 89th minute after fans threw projectiles onto the field and resumed about 10 minutes later.
Earlier, under new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, Lille followed up a 1-0 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions Trophy with a sloppy defensive performance that exposed new goalkeeper Leo Jardim.
But a red card for Metz defender Boubakar Kouyate in the 56th gave Lille a lifeline, and forward Jonathan Ikone pulled one back in the 81st.
Metz coach Frederic Antonetti took the rare measure of replacing forward Lenny Joseph only 22 minutes after bringing him on. He had lost the ball for Lille’s second goal.
Things started well for Lille when central defender Sven Botman headed in midway through the first half but right back Fabien Centonze equalized in the 31st with a firm header at the back post from Thomas Delaine’s fine cross from the left.
Left back Matthieu Udol put Metz ahead just before the break and the lively Centonze got his second in the 52nd when he pressured Botman in the penalty area, and the defender’s clearance hit Centonze’s leg and flew in.
After Kouyate was shown a straight red for a lunge on Yilmaz, midfielder Benjamin Andre headed a goal back but it was ruled offside following a review.
Gourvennec has a lot of rebuilding to do.
Coach Christophe Galtier, standout goalkeeper Mike Maignan — who kept the most clean sheets last season — and impressive central midfielder Boubakary Soumare all left Lille.
Jardim took Maignan’s place in goal after his move to AC Milan.
Moments after Centonze’s goal, Jardim made an outstanding save to his left to keep out Pape Matar Sarr’s strike, but he struggled to command his area at times.
Marseille was without imposing Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik but coach Jorge Sampaoli had several new recruits in the lineup.
American winger Konrad de la Fuente, former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, Turkey forward Cengiz Under, central defender William Saliba and left back Luan Peres all made their league debuts for Marseille.
Peres put through his own net to give Montpellier the lead in the 30th when under pressure from forward Gaetan Laborde, who expertly curled in his side’s second goal four minutes later.
Playing up front on his own, rather than as a playmaker, Payet had a free kick saved early in the second half by goalkeeper Dimitry Bertaud.
Under pulled one back in the 68th after being set up by De la Fuente.
Payet scored with a 25-meter free kick in the 75th and won it five minutes later when he drifted in from the left and found the bottom right corner.
Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Lens, and Galtier’s first game in charge of Nice ended in a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Reims.
Promoted Clermont won 2-0 at Bordeaux, thanks to late goals from striker Mohamed Bayo and midfielder Jodel Dossou.
Also, it was: Saint-Etienne 1, Lorient 1; and Strasbourg 0, Angers 2.
On Saturday, defender Achraf Hakimi scored a debut goal as Paris Saint-Germain began its title bid with a 2-1 win at Troyes.
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