PARIS (AP) – Lille ended their run of three straight Ligue 1 stalemates with a 2-0 win over Rennes at the Stadium Lille Metropole.
Moussa Sow put the hosts into the lead in the seventh minute when he pounced on a rebounded from Joe Cole's shot before Florent Balmont sealed the win with a strike from close range just after the half-hour mark.
The result moves Lille into fifth in the table, leapfrogging Rennes who are now in seventh.
Sow's goal was the first real chance of the match and the striker made no mistake when Balmont released Mathieu Debuchy who passed to Cole, who controlled the ball and made a shot on goal.
Cole's attempt was partially cleared but the ball fell into the path of Sow, whose left-footed shot beat Rennes 'keeper Benoit Costil.
Lille almost doubled their advantage in the 21st minute when Marko Basa was left unmarked at Benoit Pedretti's corner, but the defender's header missed the target and went slightly wide.
However, the hosts did find a second 10 minutes later thanks to Balmont.
The midfielder connected with Eden Hazard's powerful free-kick to divert the ball into the back of the net.
Lille finished the first-half strongly and Rennes had Costil to thank for preventing them from going 3-0 down after he made an excellent reflex save to deny Sow.
Cole deflected the ball towards Hazard, who put the ball across goal. Sow pulled the trigger from close range, only for the goalkeeper to make the save.
Rennes almost equalized a minute into the second half when Julien Feret's free-kick from the edge of the box fired directly towards the goal, but Lille 'keeper Mickael Landreau blocked the chance.
Landreau was called into action three minutes later and pulled off an excellent double save to deny the visitors again.
Chris Mavinga raced down the left and crossed towards Feret, whose stunning volley was parried by Landreau into the path of striker Jonathan Pitroipa, only for the goalkeeper to make another save.
Rennes had a final chance to score a consolation goal but Landreau again denied them to keep Lille's first clean sheet of the season.