The visitors gave Gérard Houllier's side an early shock as Adama Coulibaly headed Lens into a sixth-minute lead, but Lyon were back on level terms eight minutes before the break as Tiago, a summer signing from Chelsea FC, scored his first goal for the club with a fine strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Lyon thought they had taken the lead three minutes later as Benoît Pedretti's long-range strike hit the back of the Lens net, but the goal was chalked off as Florent Malouda was offside. Instead, Lyon were held to a second consecutive draw and dropped their first home points of the season.
The point sees Lens creep up from seventh to fourth in Ligue 1 ahead of the second leg of their UEFA Cup game against Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski next Thursday. Lyon are in UEFA Champions League action at Rosenborg BK the night before, but first face FC Nantes Atlantique on Sunday.
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