AJ Auxerre booked their place in Friday's UEFA Cup second-round draw courtesy of Yann Lachuer's 53nd-minute goal away against injury-depleted Neuchâtel Xamax FC. The visitors, protecting a one-goal lead from the first leg, managed to keep Xamax at bay with some ease before scoring with their first meaningful attack of the second period.
Xamax - denied the services of several first-team regulars through injury - battled bravely, especially in the opening 15 minutes of the match at the Stade de la Maladière, as they desperately sought an equaliser to level the tie.
However, opportunities were spurned by Futi Mobulu and Abdou Mangane. Mobulu had a header easily saved by Fabien Cool in the Auxerre goal, and then had a shot wide of the right upright before Mangane missed the ball in front of goal when well-placed to threaten the target.
Auxerre offered little in attack, but Djibril Cissé had one half-chance for the visitors after 35 minutes. The French international could not direct it however, and the header was easily collected by Xamax goalkeeper Patrick Bettoni.
But Guy Roux's side found their range seven minutes after the break when Lachuer was first to react after an initial shot hit the post and the ball rebounded back into play for him to slot in from close range.
Xamax attempted to raise their game for a ten-minute spell, but Auxerre were able to attack at will as the Swiss side tired and Cissé and Bonaventure Kalou had decent scoring chances to widen the margin of victory, with Cissé coming closest when he forced a diving save from Bettoni.