An impressive first-half display laid the platform for a decisive victory against SK Slavia Praha as LOSC Lille Métropole secured their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
Needing a win to make sure of edging out Genoa CFC for a berth in Friday's draw, Lille had already threatened on several occasions before Yohan Cabaye found the net for the fourth successive game midway through the first period. Another player in fine scoring form, Gervinho, doubled the advantage five minutes before half-time with his fifth goal in as many matches and, though Stanislav Vlček revived Slavia's hopes of bowing out of the competition on a high, Ludovic Obraniak's fine curling strike ensured Lille would finish second in Group B.
Having won their last five home matches and scored four goals in each of their last four Ligue 1 outings, Lille kicked off with confidence soaring and within 30 seconds Deniss Romanovs was racing from his line to deny Gervinho. The Slavia goalkeeper then dived to his left to fingertip Cabaye's shot behind, but was left exposed when the Lille midfielder robbed Vitali Trubila from the resulting corner and drilled in a low shot. Although Mickaël Landreau made eye-catching stops from Peter Grajciar and Vlček, further Lille goals always looked likely and after Romanovs had correctly read Gervinho's near-post effort, the goalkeeper was beaten again as the Ivory Coast forward turned in Pierre-Alain Frau's inviting cross.
Frau had the chance to wrap things up in the first period's final action, galloping clear only to be denied first by Romanovs and then the upright, and there was more good news for the home fans at the interval with the announcement that planning permission has been granted for Lille's new stadium, scheduled to open in July 2012. Slavia briefly spoiled the celebratory atmosphere when Grajciar threaded a pass through for Vlček to halve the arrears eleven minutes after half-time, yet the home side regrouped and Obraniak eased any lingering nerves with ten minutes remaining.