Match Reports

LOSC held by Nice as Les Dogues qualify for UCL play-offs

LOSC held by Nice as Les Dogues qualify for UCL play-offs

Match Reports
Publish on 05/19 at 23:22 - G. BOXALL

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LOSC were held by Lille as Les Dogues suffered final-day heartbreak to drop into fourth position to miss out on qualifying directly for the Champions League group stage

A match which would be vital for the European ambitions of Lille would await both sides at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, and the calculation was simple: Lille had to win or possess a higher goal-difference than Brest. It would be a less than ideal start for the hosts, who were aiming to qualify directly for the Champions League group stage. Les Aiglons were quick out the blocks to score via Gaetan Laborde with a straightforward finish for his fifth goal of the season (10'). Nice would continue to pose problems, playing with a certain freedom without the pressure of a potential higher league finish. The host's timidity in the first period was certainly being punished by Les Aiglons attack which seemed full of energy.

Lille were searching for a way back into the game, as Hákon Arnar Haraldsson's effort was just wide of Bulka's left post. But the better quality chances would come through Les Aiglons, a drive from Khephren Thuram would almost see the ball deflected via two defenders into the black of the net, but it was cleared just in time by the home side. Les Dogues were certainly pushing by the second half to get back into the game.

Les Dogues go through final day drama

Once the second half got underway, Les Dogues would find their way back into the game via Haraldssan who drove into the box and profited off a mix-up to finish into an empty net (55'). Brest's increasing lead over Toulouse meant that Les Pirates would overtake Lille into the third direct position for the Champions League. But it was the Northern side that would strike back through captain Benjamin André with a decisive header from the corner delivered by Edon Zhegrova (73') to put them one goal ahead of Brest on goal difference.

It would get more difficult for the hosts, as it was now Paulo Fonseca's side who were creating chances with more vigour and quality. But Brest would score through Kenny Lala to threaten Lille's goal difference lead for Champions League qualification. Yet Les Aiglons would grab another goal via Lotomba, a direct header after a late run into the box to sink Lille's hopes (90'+3). Then, Doada Traoré thought he sealed the affair with a low finish, which was then ruled out by the referee as Edon Zhegovra was sent-off. In a final few tense minutes, it was Lille who needed a single goal to seal their Champions League group spot, yet it was too little too late as Les Dogues ran out of time.