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Moussilou makes his mark

Thursday, 4 November 2004

[1] Striker Matt Moussilou's first-half winner earned LOSC Lille Métropole the first points of their UEFA Cup Group H campaign, the French side narrowly beating FC Zenit St. Peterburg at the Lille Métropole stadium.

Scoring burst

[2] Moussilou showed composure beyond his 22 years to finish off a fine passing move to claim what proved to be the winner just before half time, the third goal in a seven-minute scoring spell. His strike followed a superb 34th-minute opener from captain Grégory Tafforeau, finding the top corner from fully 30 metres, before Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who scored a hat-trick in his side's 5-1 thrashing of AEK Athens FC on Matchday 1, levelled the score moments later.

Tafforeau back

[3] Zenit coach Vlastimil Petrzela chose Vladislav Radimov despite him currently serving a five-match domestic suspension, while Lille coach Claude Puel had no major selection worries, only midfield player Mathieu Chalmé unavailable after fracturing his cheekbone. Full-back Tafforeau returned after recovering from an arm injury sustained in the 1-0 defeat by TSV Alemannia Aachen on Matchday 1, and he brought the match to life after the half hour.

Opening strike

[4] After a timid opening from both sides, Lille looked more lively as the half progressed. Slovenian Milenko Acimovic, an increasing influence in midfield, was fortunate to break free from two Zenit challenges on the edge of the area, but he did and played a weighted pass into the stride of captain Tafforeau, who arrowed a shot across the goalkeeper into the top corner.

Zenit response

[5] Minutes later, however, the visitors drew level. A deflected pass found its way into the path of Kerzhakov, and he made no mistake from close range, stabbing the ball past goalkeeper Tony Sylva. But the home side restored their lead before half-time, Christophe Landrin twice deftly backheeling in a slick passing move that eventually gave Moussilou time and space inside the penalty area, and he picked his spot past Kamil Contofalský.

Great start

[6] Despite a purposeful second half start by Lille, it was Zenit who had the first chance, forcing Sylva into a stunning double-save. Scorer Kerzhakov was again involved, shooting fiercely from an improbable angle, his effort well blocked by the Senegalese keeper. But the danger had not been cleared, and Pavel Mareš was first to the loose ball only to see his point-blank effort somehow pushed on to the crossbar by the sprawling Sylva.

Nervous spell

[7] Lille contained Zenit for much of the second half until a nervous last ten minutes. Vladimir Bystrov should have scored after some excellent chest control, instead blasting wildly over. Then the diminutive Kerzhakov ghosted into the penalty area and nearly levelled matters, until he was halted by a timely tackle by Stéphane Dumont.

Lille survive

[8] But the home side hung on to record their first victory of the group stage, and next travel to bottom side AEK on 25 November. Zenit entertain Sevilla FC on the same night, hoping to recover the form that helped them to such a convincing win on Matchday 1.

Zenit's Olexandr Spivak (right) tackles Jean Makoun