The party could have gone smoother for LOSC Lille, but Túlio De Melo's extra-time header finally secured the French club a spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage in their first European match at their new home.
Having waited so long for their 50,000-seater Grand Stade Lille Métropole, LOSC now have UEFA Champions League football to go with it, denying FC København despite losing the first leg 1-0 in Denmark. Lucas Digne levelled the aggregate scoreline close to half-time, but a second goal proved elusive – and the tension mounted – until De Melo was eventually able to make one of several headed attempts count.
Vociferous and colourful, the locals backed their team superbly from the off, as they too settled into new surroundings, but if FCK were meant to be intimidated, they were not. The visitors had the pace of César Santin up their sleeve and the forward sprang the offside trap after just six minutes to race on to Christián Bolaños's flicked pass, only to scuff his shot wide.
Sparked into action, Rudi Garcia's men quickly set about imposing control, Marvin Martin and Marko Baša both seeing efforts saved by FCK goalkeeper Johan Wiland. Wiland was then able to watch in safety as Rio Mavuba rifled into the side netting.
LOSC's hunger was eventually sated a minute before the interval, Salomon Kalou sprinting behind the defence to collect Payet's pass and driving across goal from the right. Wiland's glove diverted the ball into the path of Digne, who beat Lars Jacobsen at the far post and blasted high into the net.
Their threat previously limited to Santin, FCK took more risks after the break and nearly forced an equaliser when Aurélien Chedjou headed just over his own crossbar from Pierre Bengtsson's corner. Despite seeming more withdrawn, Garcia's side still had two chances, De Melo practically brushing the post after leaping to meet a corner and later testing Wiland once again.
The Brazilian forward's aerial ability was suddenly looking like LOSC's most deadly weapon, and with six minutes remaining he nodded against the bar from Florent Balmont's cross. Neither side could settle matters, though, and it took the arrival of extra time for another burst of activity, Mickaël Landreau denying Nicolai Jørgensen at one end before substitute Nolan Roux lobbed over at the other. It was Roux who then controlled brilliantly and crossed for De Melo to find the far corner this time to send FCK into the UEFA Europa League – and usher in an exciting new era for the hosts.
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