Kalou on target in Lille draw

Nancy’s Djamel Bakar had the honour of scoring the first goal at

the 50,000-seater Grand Stade Lille Metropole, a stadium which also

boasts the first retractable roof at a sporting venue in

France.

Bakar’s beautiful curling strike was a fitting way to kick-start

the action at the new venue, while Salomon Kalou’s equaliser three

minutes before the break was another effort from the top

drawer.

There was less quality on show in a fractious second half, and

when Nancy lost Benjamin Moukandjo to a second yellow card in the

79th minute, there was only one team going for the win but a second

goal failed to arrived.

The stalemate at least gives both teams the honour of sitting at

the top of the league standings with four points from their opening

two games ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

Dimitri Payet and Tulio De Melo threatened for Lille in a bright

opening for the hosts, but the breakthrough should have come midway

through the half when Kalou burst beyond the Nancy backline after

latching on to a loose ball at the halfway line.

The former Chelsea man had defenders trailing in his wake as he

closed in on goal, but when he pulled the trigger on the edge of

the area the ball slewed horribly wide.

On 34 minutes Nancy punished that miss to the full, Bakar

cutting inside his man and firing in a curling, dipping shot from

25 yards beyond the reach of the helpless Mickael Landreau.

But the lead lasted less than 10 minutes before Kalou atoned for

his earlier miss in some style.

Marvin Martin was the architect with a deep cross from the right

channel which the Ivory Coast striker met with a superb looping

header over Guy Ndy Assembe.

Lille almost hit the front on 50 minutes when Franck Beria’s

cross from the right was steered towards goal by Kalou but Ndy

Assembe somehow made the save.

Moukandjo’s dismissal with 11 minutes left Nancy holding on for

a point, and when Payet fired a free-kick over in the closing

moments, the stalemate was assured.