Lille miss chance to clinch Champions League spot, draw Bastia

Salomon Kalou scored Lille lone goal against Bastia on Friday night.

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Lille missed an opportunity to clinch a Champions League spot by drawing 1-1 with mid-table Bastia in the French league on Friday.

Rene Girard’s men took the lead just after the half-hour mark through former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou before Khazri netted with five minutes to go to hand his side just their fifth point from their last available 18. The 1-1 draw, which saw third-placed Lille move eight points clear of nearest challengers Saint-Etienne and extended the visitors’ unbeaten run to six matches, meant Bastia moved up a spot into 10th ahead of the weekend fixtures.

Lille had the better of the opening exchanges and Marvin Martin could have handed them an early lead after picking up Franck Beria’s cross within five minutes, but instead forced home goalkeeper Mickael Landreau into making his first save of the night. And the France stopper was tested again when Martin combined with Kalou on the right then freed Nolan Roux on the edge of the 18-yard box before Landreau went down for a decent save.

Midway through the first half, the away side continued to press for an opener as Kalou found Roux, who rose higher than Ivory Coast international Romaric inside the penalty area to produce a threatening header – but Landreau denied them again. Bastia’s first real chance of note came 15 minutes before the break as Ryad Boudebouz’s corner from the left found on-loan striker Gianni Bruno in the box, but his curled effort against his parent club was deflected away by defender Simon Kjaer.

Just a minute later, Lille broke the deadlock on the counter attack. Martin set up Kalou, who took the ball down and fired a low right-footed shot to beat Landreau and hand his side a 1-0 half-time lead. The visitors came close to adding a second just after the break but Roux’s quick-fire chance skimmed the post. before Kalou’s close-range effort was denied by Landreau.


Bastia had a shot on target midway though the second half as Djibril Cisse found Khazri inside the penalty area, forcing Lille keeper Vincent Enyeama into his first save of the match. They were rewarded after 85 minutes as Florian Raspentino delivered an excellent pass toward Khazri inside the penalty area, he in turn beat Pape Souare and Kjaer to slot home his close-range shot to claim a point.