Lille scrape past Levski
Aurelien Chedjou's second-half goal was enough to seal a first UEFA Europa League Group C win for Lille as they saw off Levski Sofia 1-0 tonight.
In a match of few chances, Lille just about edged it and took their first three-point haul thanks to Chedjou's 49th-minute strike. The win saw Lille leapfrog Levski to go second in the pool, although they remain five points adrift of leaders Sporting Lisbon, who enjoyed a second consecutive five-goal haul in demolishing Gent 5-1 this evening.
For Lille, nothing so emphatic was required, as they simply sought a win in any form. They did not have things all their own way, though, and it was Levski who started the stronger.
The visitors almost snatched a lead after just 70 seconds when Daniel Mladenov's shot had to be tipped around the post by Mickael Landreau, but that explosive start was hardly a sign of what was to come in a first half of few chances.
Mladenov's next effort was a powerful one from the edge of the box, but straightforward for Landreau. Lille's first opening came in the 19th minute and they could not have gone much closer to scoring as Ludovic Obraniak's effort struck the crossbar.
Eden Hazard then brought a great save out of Bozhidar Mitrev, who used an outstretched glove to push the ball wide for a corner. Moments later, Mitrev made another save to keep out Idrissa Gana Gueye's powerful long-range effort and keep it goalless going into the break.
The breakthrough arrived four minutes into the second half when Stephane Dumont crossed for Chedjou to head home from six yards. Lille were happy to shut up shop at that, and the second half dragged along with little action of note at either end.
Levski did not get a sight of goal until 20 minutes from time when Vladimir Gadzhev resorted to shooting from 25 yards, leaving Landreau with an easy save. That proved to be the final chance of the game as Lille successfully saw the game out.