Veteran goalie saves Lille from defeat
Lille’s goalkeeper Mickael Landreau
PARIS, France ● Lille were indebted to a superb display from veteran goalkeeper Mickael Landreau and a debut goal by young full-back Djibril Sidibe after they drew 2-2 at Nice in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Sidibe, 20, claimed a 59th-minute equaliser after the hosts had come from behind to lead, while Landreau produced a string of jaw-dropping saves to keep the 2011 champions in the game.
With Lille having suffered a damaging 1-0 defeat at FC Copenhagen in the first leg of their Champions League play-off on Tuesday, Sidibe’s goal enabled them to avoid a second setback in the space of four days.
Lille coach Rudi Garcia made six changes to the team that fell in Copenhagen and Nice made all the early running, with Landreau intervening smartly to repel efforts from Alexy Bosetti, Franck Dja Djedje and Nemanja Pejcinovic.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play in the 39th minute, with Florent Balmont intercepting Renato Civelli’s pass and freeing Dimitri Payet to beat Joris Delle with a crisp left-foot shot.
However, Pejcinovic cancelled out the visitors’ advantage shortly before half-time and Claude Puel men’s went ahead in the 55th minute after Eric Bautheac capped a slick move with a shot that found the top-right corner.
Sidibe’s swift response ensured that Lille did not trail for long.
Having collected the ball just outside the Nice box, the close-season signing from Troyes darted through the home defence before rolling the ball past Delle.
Thereafter, it was Landreau’s time to shine.
The 33-year-old showed pin-sharp reflexes to parry Civelli’s header in the 66th minute and then did brilliantly to adjust his feet in order to claw away a deflected free-kick from Bautheac.
“Micka (Landreau) made the saves he had to make. He was good, just like Delle at the other end,” said Garcia.
“My squad are mature. After the defeat in Copenhagen, they wanted to bounce back. This match is the best way to prepare for the return leg in the Champions League (on Wednesday).”
The draw left Lille in seventh place, two points behind Lyon, who moved to the top of the standings after a ferocious Michel Bastos free-kick earned them a 1-1 draw at Evian on Friday.
Lyon are level on seven points with Toulouse, who won 1-0 at 10-man Nancy on Saturday, and Valenciennes, 3-0 victors at home to Ajaccio, who had Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi harshly sent off for a first-half foul on Gael Danic.
Meanwhile, an injury-time own goal by Sloan Privat gave Reims a 1-0 win at home to Sochaux, which was the two-time European Cup finalists’ first top-flight victory since April 1979.
Reims had earlier seen Sochaux goalkeeper Pierrick Cros save a Kamel Ghilas penalty after Sebastien Cochia had received a second yellow card for a handball inside the visitors’ 18-yard box.
Rennes claimed their first win of the season in slightly fortuitous circumstances against promoted Bastia, with Yann M’Vila’s long-range 84th-minute shot deflecting off team-mate Mevlut Erding and looping in to give the hosts a 3-2 win.
Bastia and Reims’ fellow top-flight new boys Troyes also registered their first point of the campaign following a 2-2 draw at home to Lorient.
Champions Montpellier host Marseille on Sunday, while title favourites Paris Saint-Germain will hope to claim their first win of the season at home to in-form Bordeaux.