Lille made it five games in a row without conceding with a hard-fought 1-0 win in Montpellier – their first victory at the Stade de la Mosson since 2004.
Defender Pape Souare scored the only goal of the game early on to send his side third in the Ligue 1 table, leaving them unbeaten in their past five.
Montpellier tasted defeat for the first time since the third game of season but it could have been a wholly different outcome had Remy Cabella converted a late penalty for the hosts.
Lille took a deserved early lead inside five minutes when Florent Balmont swung a corner in from the right and Souare attacked the ball to power a header beyond Geoffrey Jourdren.
The hosts attempted to hit back immediately but Djamel Bakar’s powerful effort from distance was gathered by Vincent Enyeama at the second attempt down near his post.
Montpellier continued to impress after falling behind but Lille thought they should have had a penalty after 25 minutes when Balmont went down in the area only to be showed a yellow card for simulation.
Montpellier’s Souleymane Camara thought he had equalised for the hosts with half-an-hour played after Remy Cabella teed him up 25 yards out but his rasping short was superbly turned round the left post by Enyeama.
Jean Fernandez’s men continued to impress after the restart and only a magnificent sprawling save from Enyeama prevented Bakar from opening the scoring at the far post after Jonathan Tinhan picked him out.
Despite being pressured for large parts of the game, Lille almost doubled their lead twice in the space of 60 seconds with little over 20 minutes left. Firstly, Balmont wriggled free in the right channel before powering a dipping shot at goal from 30 yards which Jourdren turned around the left post.
Then, from the resulting corner, Soualiho Meite almost toe-poked the ball beyond the hosts keeper but the ball finished up the wrong side of the left post.
In a frenetic finish to the game Montpellier were gifted a glorious opportunity for a deserved equaliser when Balmont brought down El-Kaoutari in the area and referee Benoit Bastien pointed at the spot.
However, Cabella took charge and saw his penalty saved by the impressive Enyeama, diving low to his right to turn the ball away for a corner and Lille took all three points home.