(AFP) – Dec 7, 2011
PARIS — French champions Lille squandered a series of chances in a scoreless draw with Trabzonspor Wednesday which ended their Champions League campaign and left both sides out of the tournament.
After three consecutive wins in all matches, including a 2-0 away defeat of CSKA Moscow two weeks ago, Lille coach Rudi Garcia sent out an attack-minded formation which seemed intent on taking an early advantage.
Try as they might, however, Lille's impressive front line -- driven by the ever-energetic Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard -- could not get the ball past Trabzonspor 'keeper Tolga Zengin.
In the end, it did not matter as CSKA's 2-1 win against Inter Milan gave the Russians a last 16 spot.
Lille keeper Mickael Landreau admitted: "It's a horrible night. We're bitterly disappointed. Tonight we gave it everything but in the end we're three points short."
In a busy opening to the first half Hazard showed his pace early by racing down the right wing and delivering an inviting cross which found no takers at the far post.
Five minutes in Lille striker Moussa Sow tested Zengin with a left-foot shot after cutting in from the right flank.
Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz, returning following suspension in the first leg, came close to producing a moment of magic for the visitors when he pounced on a loose ball in midfield and sent a looping drive from 35 yards which edged just over Mickael Landreau's crossbar.
It would be Trabzonspor's sole opportunity in a first half in which they struggled to match the pace and enterprise of their hosts.
On the quarter hour Hazard produced a nice one-two to the right of the area before dancing past two defenders and seeing his low shot from the edge of the area parried by Zengin.
Hazard showed another glimpse of his class moments later when, in possession, he drew two players before squeezing past both and, after a one-two with Sow, hitting a low show which crept an inch past the post.
Former England man Joe Cole emerged from the shadows early in the second half to link well with Hazard in a period which seemed destined to produce a goal.
A Cole cross from the right was destined for Sow, but headed out by an alert defender.
From the resulting corner Marko Basa rose high to send a header just past Zengin's left-hand post.
Lille started to apply real pressure in the lead up to the hour mark, with Cole momentarily switching to the left to deliver a dipping cross for Hazard. It bounced off the Belgian, but Mathieu Debuchy's shot then went wide.
Moments later Cole came close to breaking the deadlock but saw his pivoted shot from close range blocked by a Trabzonspor leg.
With Lille losing momentum in the closing stages, Trabzonspor gained in confidence and came close to stealing a win when Yilmaz powered down the right wing to unleash a shot which forced a one-handed save from Landreau.
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