Alban Lafont put in a sterling display but FC Nantes' defence was finally breached by second-half substitute Ismaily as LOSC left the Stade de la Beaujoire with a share of the points.
FC Nantes 1-1 LOSC
The last times these sides met in Nantes Lille left with a 1-0 win thanks to an Amadou Onana strike. The midfielder has since left for Everton in a big-money move and it was a new-look LOSC here under Paulo Fonseca. They struggled at first, with Moses Simon rattling Léo Jardim's post with a thumping effort (25'). Jardim was soon picking the ball out of his net, when Simon prodded home following a corner (28'), but les Dogues soon settled into their stride and Jonathan Bamba forced the first of what would be seven saves from Alban Lafont with a header (34'). Nantes might have taken a bigger lead into the break, though, had Rémy Cabella not scrambled to clear Ludovic Blas's goal-bound effort off the line (45').
A game of two halves
That was as good as it got for Nantes, though, with Fonseca ringing the changes at the interval, bringing on Ismaily and Bafodé Diakité to refresh fully half of his back four. It worked, and Benjamin André was inches away from drawing the visitors level when his header bounced back off the crossbar (54'). Cabella then had a go with a vintage left-foot rasper, but Lafont made a stunning save to turn it round for a corner (56'). Cabella tried his luck again minutes later, but again Lafont was equal to it (58'). Lille finally found a way though in the final 15 minutes. Jonathan David slipped the ball to Ismaily and the Brazilian left-back - a summer arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk - steered him his first LOSC goal for 1-1 (76').
THE PLAYER: Alban Lafont
This was yet another stunning performance from the former France under-21 goalkeeper, Lafont. There is no way Nantes would have had a share of the points here without his intervention. A 36-time youth international, what Lafont has to do to earn a call-up to Didier Deschamps' France squad is anyone's guess.
THE STAT: 70
LOSC were utterly dominant here, and concluded the game with 70 per cent of possession to their opponents' 30. Playing a 4-2-3-1, they look a very different side to the won that won Ligue 1 Uber Eats in 2020/21, but there is promise. They will have the chance to prove quite how much when they take on Paris Saint-Germain - and the coach that led them to that triumph, Christophe Galtier - next Sunday.