Lille defeat Red Bull Salzburg and see the knockout stages

The Champions League is often akin to a western landscape. A ruthless territory where the slightest misdemeanor is punished harshly. Lille knows these regions, having been punished on numerous occasions in its recent continental history. And knows that in Europe, the world of football is divided into two categories: those who have passed the group stage, and those who dig their hole.

Winner, Tuesday, November 23, of Red Bull Salzburg (1-0), the Lille Olympic sporting club (LOSC) is for once on the right side of the gun. First in their group G, the partners of Jonathan David, scorer, are approaching the knockout stages of the queen competition in Europe. A draw in Wolfsburg in early December will ensure the French champion of a qualification.

Relive the meeting: LOSC Mastiffs win with forceps against Salzburg

Time flies in football. Pointed out three weeks ago for their indigent journey – recalling those of the team during its last Champions League campaigns – the partners of José Fonte have reversed the trend in two games. After their victory in Seville (2-1), the Mastiffs continued against the Austrian champion. With the same recipe as in Andalusia: commitment, a newfound defense, and a sharp Jonathan David in attack. “It was a difficult match, with a lot of intensity, and we know that the Champions League demands that, noted the only scorer of the game. We knew that the game would not be easy, that it would be a little dirty at times, but that we would have to go through it. ”

Jonathan David still finds the loophole

Dominated during the first twenty minutes of the game by an RB Leipzig exploiting the loss of Lille balls, Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men bowed their backs, before correcting the shot. Starting to deploy more vertical play, they opened the scoring following a small number from Burak Yilmaz, entering the box, and a missed clearance from the Austrian defense. Ideally served, Jonathan David did not hesitate to align the opposing goalkeeper (1-0, 31e). Already a scorer in Sevilla, the 21-year-old Canadian becomes the first Lille resident to chain two goals in as many Champions League matches since Moussa Sow in 2011.

Since the start of the season, the LOSC Gourvennec version has not had the unshakeable solidity that characterized Christophe Galtier’s. In the league – this was still the case in Monaco last weekend – they often led before being joined. And if Salzburg pushed in the second half to try to get back to the mark, the teammates of striker Karim Adeyemi, poison for the Lille defense during the first leg (two penalties caused) never managed to be dangerous. “We weren’t efficient enough in the last third of the pitch, regretted the captain of Salzburg, Andreas Ulmer. We often made the wrong decisions, and had few chances. But we played against a very good team. “

In a Pierre-Mauroy stadium savoring, if not the game, the constant commitment of his team, the LOSC has not let go. And won his first home success since a victory against AEK Athens in 2006. “This is LOSC’s first victory in the Champions League at Pierre-Mauroy [inauguré en 2012], It’s not nothing “, relishes Jocelyn Gourvennec. For the French technician, who has recovered a champion group of France, whatever the way, since the result is there. “Before the first match against Wolfsburg, we announced that we would play the Champions League at 300%, that’s what we’re showing today. We have had great defensive efficiency since the start of the competition. “

A first place to go for

Last in group G three weeks ago, Lille found themselves first in a tight hen, where everything will be played out in the last match. By having their destiny in their hands. “Whatever happens, there will be a European competition in Lille in February, continues Gourvennec, his club being sure to finish at the worst third and to be transferred to the Europa League. Now we hope it will be the most beautiful. “ And the teammates of Jonathan Bamba, incisive Tuesday, intend to win their last match.

If the Champions League is a western, then the final day of Group G is like two duels to the death on the high street. At the kickoff of Wolfsburg-Lille and Salzburg-Sevilla, Wednesday, December 8, the four teams can still dream of a qualification. But in Salzburg, the main street will remain empty. Due to the reconfinement announced in Austria, the game will have to take place behind closed doors. ” That’s a shame, regretted Andreas Ulmer, our team would have deserved to have our audience for this final. “

Faced with Wolfsburg forced to win to hope for a hypothetical qualification, Lille will have to avoid a defeat to ensure their own. In a meeting promising bite, between Wolves and Mastiffs, the partners of Jonathan David – “To the efficiency of an old man despite his 21 years”, according to his coach – aspire to chain. “We haven’t done anything yet, emphasizes the coach. There is still a game to go, and it will be necessary to deliver a big fight in Wolfsburg. ” Managing to survive in the ruthless world that is the Champions League, his men would like to be inspired by their journey to go up the slope in the league.

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