LOSC Lille Métropole 1-2 Sporting Clube de Portugal
First-half goals from Simon Vukčević and Hélder Postiga set the Portuguese visitors on course for a fine victory in France.
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First-half goals from Simon Vukčević and Hélder Postiga ensured Sporting Clube de Portugal opened Group C with a fine victory away to LOSC Lille Métropole.
The 2004/05 UEFA Cup finalists were at their clinical best in the opening period, storming into a two-goal lead through Vukčević on 11 minutes and Postiga's precise header before the break. Although Les Dogues improved dramatically, pulling one back through Pierre-Alain Frau, they had left themselves with too much work to do.
Seeking a first-ever win on French soil, the visitors enjoyed the perfect start. Abel led a rapid counterattack up the right, and after his cross had been helped on by André Santos, Vukčević slotted in at the far post. The Ligue 1 outfit were unbeaten in their last eight European home games yet struggled to come to terms with Sporting's early passing. Paulo Sérgio's charges looked dangerous every time they ventured up the right, Vukčević and Abel doubling up to give Jerry Vandam a torrid time.
In the 34th minute, Lille's 21-year-old full-back could not prevent Abel teasing over a fine cross that was nodded emphatically into the top corner by Postiga. Lille boss Rudi Garcia reacted by sending on Emerson and Eden Hazard for Vandam and Stéphane Dumont, and immediately the hosts improved, Mathieu Debuchy forcing Tiago into his first save on 44 minutes with a stinging drive.
They continued to press after the break, and halved the deficit through Frau before the hour, the forward stroking home after Tiago had spilled Hazard's left-footed strike. The Belgian substitute gave Garcia's team fresh impetus, but after he teed up Ludovic Obraniak in the 76th minute, the midfielder's low shot was deflected narrowly wide. Lille threw everything they had at the Portuguese club in the dying moments but could not find a way through.