Held to a scoreless home draw by Trabzonspor, the LOSC are eliminated from this season's European competitions as, simultaneously, CSKA Moscow defeated Inter Milan, 2-1. It's a terribly cruel scenario for Les Dogues, at the end of a match they dominated from start to finish, but during which Lady Luck refused her favours to the French champions...
What suspense! On the final day of the UEFA Champions League group stage, all eyes were fixed on Stadium Lille Métropole for a winner-takes-all, mouth-watering contest between the LOSC and Trabzonspor AS. Les Dogues approached the match with one ambition: complete a remarkable comeback and qualify for the next round. Coach Rudi Garcia named an attacking side to go in search of victory, essential to the club's chances of qualifying for the last-16 for the second time in the club's history after the 2006-07 campaign... In an unbelievable atmosphere, worthy of such an occasion, Les Lillois - who saw their Turkish visitors, in white and sky blue, take the kick-off - set off to a date with destiny!
The French started in enterprising fashion, immediately laying siege to the Trabzonspor goal. Béria (5’) and then Sow (6’) both fired on target, by Zengin, the visitors' goalkeeper, was equal to the task. The first Turkish attack was signed Alazinho, but failed to trouble Landreau (9’). Not like Yilmaz's chance that kissed off the top of the crossbar (11’)... It was followed by Hazard stinging drive that forced a truly wonderful save from Zengin (14’). While Balmont's shot fizzed wide of the mark (17’), the pressure was mounting on the Turkish camp! Seconds later, Hazard was at it again. His superb one-two with Sow saw his effort flash agonisingly wide of the right-hand upright (18’). The Stadium was on its feet as Les Lillois took the game by the scruff of the neck! Coach Garcia has asked for enthusiasm from his players and he got what he wanted as Payet (29’), Balmont, tipped behind (31’) and Cole (33’) all shot dangerously at goal. With half-time fast approaching, the LOSC's considerable efforts had gone unrewarded. But even just one unanswered goal would be enough to send them through...
Keeping a close eye on their opponents, while continue the all-out attack: that's the problem confronting the LOSC at the start of the second half. For his part, Hazard didn't seem to be asking too many questions as his ferocious shot was too hot for Zengin to handle (49’). Sow was then within a whisker of getting his head on the end of Cole's powerful cross (54’). Forced deep into their own camp, Trabzonspor resisted as best they could, but they were being suffocated out o the game by the home side. Only that much-sought after goal was missing as the minutes ticked by. Would Obraniak's introduction (68’) make the difference? Les Dogues kept coming in wave after wave, even as the bodies started to feel the pinch. Yilmaz took advantage to break clear, but Landreau was staying focused at the other end (82’). Les Lillois threw everything at their opponents as the game moved into Money Time! But Trabzonspor would not give in. Even worse was the news that CSKA had defeated Inter Milan 2-1, a result that condemned the LOSC to fourth place in Group B. Obviously it was a heart-breaking disappointment for Les Dogues… The club's European adventure for the 2011-12 season ends on the bitterest of notes... The club's next game: LOSC v Dijon, Sunday 11 December at Stadium Lille Métropole (kick-off 17:00 CET).
Team sheet: UEFA Champions League - Group B - Match Day 6
(Wednesday 7 December, 20:45 CET)
LOSC-Trabzonspor AS 0-0 (0-0)
Stadium Lille Métropole
Referee: Pedro Proença (POR)
Bookings: Balmont (61’), Chedjou (62'), Béria (74’) for the LOSC; Zokora (62'), Mierzejewski (76’) for Trabzonspor AS
Landreau - Debuchy, Basa, Chedjou, Béria (Bonnart, 84’) - Balmont, Mavuba - Payet (Rodelin, 87’), Cole (Obraniak, 68’), Hazard - Sow
Coach: Rudi Garcia
Zengin - Celustka (Mierzejewski, 33'), Kacar, Glowacki, Cech - Colman, Zokora - Altintop, Alanzinho (Paulo Henrique, 65’), Balci - Yilmaz (Yumlu, 90')
Coach: Senol Günes