LOSC Lille Métropole will meet French rivals AJ Auxerre in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup after defeating Swiss champions FC Basel 1893 2-0 to advance by the same scoreline on aggregate.
Goals in each half from Matt Moussilou and Milenko Acimovic completed a comfortable victory for the UEFA Intertoto Cup winners, who put a poor run of form behind them with a convincing performance at the Lille Métropole stadium.
The Ligue 1 high-flyers, who had never before reached the last 16, had won just one of their previous six matches, and they looked nervous in the opening stages. Tony Sylva in the Auxerre goal, however, was rarely troubled, and Christophe Landrin soon wrested control for Claude Puel's side. Landrin sent Moussilou through on 15 minutes, but the striker mis-hit his lob, then Acimovic drew an excellent save from Pascal Zuberbühler on 21 minutes.
Lille were dominating possession and lacked only the finishing touch to show for some enterprising attacking play. Acimovic and Moussilou both came close and Efstathios Tavlaridis sent a diving header just wide before the breakthrough finally came on 37 minutes. Mathieu Bodmer this time released Moussilou and the striker raced past a static Basel defence before shooting beyond Zuberbühler.
Basel were forced forward after the restart, but as they committed men to attack they left themselves vulnerable on the counter and Lille soon took advantage. Moussilou had the ball in the back of the net again on 52 minutes, but his strike was disallowed for offside, then twice he missed the target when well placed.
An away goal then would have tipped the tie in Basel's favour, but Acimovic ended the Swiss side's hopes with 12 minutes to play. The Slovenian playmaker was pulled down in the penalty area by Swiss international Patrick Müller, but got straight back up to fire in the resulting penalty. Basel charged forward in the final ten minutes and Sylva saved well from Julio Rossi, but by then the mountain was too high to climb.
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