LOSC Lille Métropole reignited their hopes of making the UEFA Champions League knockout stage with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory at PFC CSKA Moskva.
Despite the temperature dropping well below freezing in the Russian capital, it was the visitors who were more fired up for the game, and but for better finishing they could have gone in at the break at least two goals up. However, Lille's pressure finally told in the second half, when a freak Vasili Berezutski own goal and a tap-in from Moussa Sow gave the French side their first win in Group B, lifting them off the foot of the section.
CSKA knew victory would give them a great chance of making the next round, yet the Army Men made a subdued start. It was Lille who had the better of the opening exchanges, with Vladimir Gabulov called into action on 15 minutes. The Russian international saved low down from Joe Cole after the England midfielder showed great skill to turn his marker, Sergei Ignashevich, inside out.
The Ligue 1 champions' best chance of the first period fell to Mathieu Debuchy five minutes later. CSKA failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped invitingly for the Lille right-back. His strike from close range was true but unfortunately for him crashed off the top of the crossbar and away to safety.
Rudi Garcia's side were doing a good job of keeping dangermen Vágner Love and Alan Dzagoev quiet, but the absence of Seydou Doumbia also blunted the hosts' attacking edge. With CSKA's four-goal top scorer in the competition suspended, Mickaël Landreau hardly had a save to make in the first 45 minutes.
Lille gained the lead they deserved four minutes into the second half, albeit in bizarre circumstances. Sow failed to control a right-wing cross on the edge of the area and with Vasili Berezutski trying to clear, the centre-back inadvertently sent the ball over the head of the despairing Gabulov and in via the crossbar.
Buoyed by that slice of luck, Lille doubled their lead on 64 minutes. The excellent Eden Hazard played a delightful ball which split the CSKA defence, putting Cole through on goal. His shot cannoned off the post, but straight into the path of the onrushing Sow, who slotted into the empty net.
CSKA hardly threatened, Aleksandrs Cauņa's stinging drive from 25 metres the closest they came to a response. It was the French outfit who looked the more likely to extend their advantage, with Hazard looking a menace every time he received possession.
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