A second-half goal from Pierre-Alain Frau ensured LOSC Lille Métropole will carry a slender advantage into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Fenerbahçe SK.
Les Dogues enjoyed the perfect start when Florent Balmont broke the deadlock inside three minutes, yet just moments later Gökçek Vederson scored a potentially vital away goal. Frau's 52nd-minute strike then ensured Lille will travel to Istanbul on 25 February in optimistic mood, although they will be without midfield duo Balmont and Yohan Cabaye, both of whom picked up yellow cards and suspensions. For their part, Fenerbahçe will be missing left-back André Santos for the same reason.
Already brimming with confidence having won their last 11 home matches, the hosts roared out of the blocks, Balmont surging forward, exchanging passes with Eden Hazard and slotting a low effort past Volkan Demirel. Yet no sooner had the celebrations died down than the Yellow Canaries drew level, Vederson hitting a superb swerving shot over the advanced Mickaël Landreau from 30 metres.
With both defences being stretched, Volkan needed to produce a fine point-blank stop to deny Frau as Rudi Garcia's charges attacked with urgency. Hazard missed from distance and Stéphane Dumont nodded a Ludovic Obraniak free-kick wide, yet it was the Turkish team who came closest to going in front before half-time. With the hosts over-committed, Alex and Daniel Güiza broke clean through, but with just Landreau to beat Güiza over-hit an attempted return pass.
Lille finished second-top scorers in the group stage, and it came as little surprise when they restored their advantage seven minutes into the second period. Substitute Deniz Barış failed to intercept Balmont's crossfield ball and that allowed Frau to steal in and slip a shot past the exposed Volkan. Although Güiza squandered a glorious chance to equalise again late on, shooting tamely at Landreau, Fenerbahçe will feel they remain very much alive in the tie.
©UEFA.com 1998-2010. All rights reserved.