RC Deportivo La Coruña joined Manchester United FC in the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League after their Group G fixture against Lille OSC ended in a 1-1 draw.
Two penalties in the first half from Diego Tristán and Bruno Cheyrou meant that both teams shared the points in a game of few chances.
LOSC were clearly delighted with the result which leaves them with a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Cup if they can beat Manchester United in their final group game. Their satisfaction was certainly deserved, the whole side played resolutely, keeping the two main threats, Tristan and Juan Valerón, at bay for most of the game, so much so that both were substituted in the second half.
Deportivo started well enough, with Emerson and Tristán both having chances early on. Emerson saw his header easily saved, while Tristán was played in for a great chance after only five minutes, but the ball was cleared before he managed to get his shot in from 15 metres out.
Tristán wins penalty
Just before the quarter hour, Tristán was fouled in the box by Johnny Ecker. The striker, who has already put away five goals in the last eight days, got up to take the penalty himself, scoring without too much trouble.
If the home supporters thought that the goal would be the start of an onslaught by their team, they were to be disappointed. Six minutes later, LOSC won a penalty of their own after the ball was handled in the box. Bruno Cheyrou took the penalty with aplomb.
Deportivo hit back strongly. Victor Sánchez had a great chance to double the score on the 27th minute, but saw his curling shot from the right hit the crossbar. Two minutes later, Valerón's run into the area was stopped by Sylvain N'Diaye. The Deportivo star claimed a penalty, but the referee was not interested. But that was the last real attack on goal by the home team that half as LOSC started to play their way back into the game. Striker Salaheddine Bassir had a great chance on the half hour but he connected badly with the ball. He did better with his next chance, rifling a 20-metre effort into the side netting four minutes later.
The second half proved very low key, and bar a few frenetic minutes in the middle, there were few efforts on goal. The LOSC defence grew in confidence and dealt easily with everything Deportivo could throw at them. Indeed it was the away side that started to look the more likely winners as they started to catch Deportivo on the break more and more. Eventually, the crowd-pleaser Djalminha replaced Valerón, but he only succeeded in chalking up a few more free-kicks for the home side, all of which came to nothing.
A disappointing night from the fans' point of view, but both sets of supporters will go away happy in the knowledge that their team's respective European seasons remain alive.