Lille OSC sealed a comfortable 2-0 win at the Lille Métropole stadium to advance to the inaugural UEFA Cup group stage 4-2 on aggregate, as Shelbourne FC were unable to repeat their heroic comeback of a fortnight ago.
LOSC always looked the better side, and it was little surprise when Milenko Acimovic opened the scoring on 18 minutes. The Slovenian midfield player had already tested Steven Williams in the Shelbourne goal on nine minutes with a curling 25 metre free-kick, and now, after running into space on the inside left channel, he calmly slotted the ball to the goalkeeper's right to put LOSC in front.
Acimovic hit the post direct from a corner three minutes later, but Matt Moussilou soon doubled LOSC's lead on 27 minutes. With the Shelbourne back-line retreating, the striker took advantage of the space he was afforded before unleashing a right-footed drive from ten metres that was deflected past Williams.
Moussilou and his strike partner Johan Audel were a constant threat, their pace troubling the Irish team's defence throughout. Moussilou could have added a second a few minutes later following a right-wing cross from Christophe Landrin, but he failed to make a clean strike of the ball and the Ligue 1 side went into the interval 2-0 ahead.
The French side had let a two-goal lead slip in the first leg in Dublin a fortnight ago, but were not going to make the same mistake again, and continued to press in the second half. Landrin and substitute Mathieu Chalmé both unselfishly attempted passes when they could have shot. Then on 62 minutes, Moussilou had an excellent opportunity to score his second when he latched on to a poor back-header from Dave Rogers, but after rounding Williams he could only hit the post.
As the half wore on Shelbourne began to dominate the midfield, but for all their possession and intent they never looked like launching a comeback, and it was not until the 88th minute that they actually managed to trouble the goalkeeper.
Jason Byrne, who started the game as a lone striker, caused problems in the penalty box from a free-kick. The LOSC defence struggled to deal with the loose ball, but goalkeeper Tony Sylva finally claimed it to ensure a 2-0 win on the night and a place in the group stage.