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Lille held by Nancy in first match at new home

AFP
ANALYST
Modified 18 Aug 2012
News
Lille

Lille’s Salomon Kalou (L) heads the ball to score a goal during the French L1 football match against Nancy at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole stadium in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, northern France. Lille began life in their impressive new stadium with a 1-1 draw against Nancy in Ligue 1.

PARIS - Lille began life in their impressive new stadium on Friday with a 1-1 draw against Nancy in Ligue 1.

In front of a sell-out crowd at the 50,000-seat stadium, the 2011 double winners fell behind to a Djamel Bakar strike, but drew level before the break thanks to summer signing Salomon Kalou’s headed effort.

Lille, seen by many as the most likely challengers to title favourites Paris Saint-Germain, started the campaign with a 2-1 victory at Saint-Etienne last week, but were dealt a blow ahead of this game when robust centre-back Marko Basa was forced to pull out injured.

His place went to former Newcastle defender David Rozehnal, and there was nothing he or his teammates could do to stop Nancy taking the lead in the 33rd minute.

Bakar skipped away from Lille captain Rio Mavuba before beating ‘keeper Mickael Landreau with a superb curling shot from 25 yards.

That was the first shot on target of the game, although Tulio De Melo did head just wide for Lille from a Marvin Martin free-kick early on, before Kalou contrived to shoot wide after finding himself clean through on goal.

But Lille stayed faithful to their flowing passing game after going behind and, after Nancy skipper Andre Luiz almost turned the ball into his own net, the hosts’ two biggest summer signings combined to haul them level.

Martin’s cross from the right was of the highest quality and Kalou’s well-placed header looped over ‘keeper Guy Roland N’Dy Assembe and in.

There are six games on Saturday, with champions Montpellier going to Lorient and Lyon also in action at home to Troyes, while PSG travel to Ajaccio on Sunday evening looking for a first win of the season.

Published 18 Aug 2012, 10:03 IST
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