Lille 0-1 Valencia: Victorious Che forced to settle for second

A Jonas goal capped off a poor campaign for les Dogues as Valencia put their disastrous weekend behind them with a morale-boosting triumph in France
Valencia steadied their recent poor form with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Lille at Grande Stade Lille Metropole - but their success was unable to secure top spot in Group F.

The Liga outfit ground out a victory that came courtesy of Jonas' first-half penalty but Los Che could not oust their rivals Bayern Munich from first place on account of the Bavarians' comfortable victory over BATE Borisov.

Still, the win ensures that Ernesto Valverde’s reign at Valencia will start on a much brighter note after stand-in coach Salvador Gonzalez masterminded the victory in France.

With both sides’ European fates decided before kick-off, the match possessed an end-of-season feel to it and both sides struggled to register any sort meaningful effort in the opening stages.

The most either team could muster was a headed effort on goal. Adil Rami got above his former colleagues to meet Tino Costa’s free kick but his header barely troubled Steeve Elana in the Lille goal, while at the other end Marko Basa nodded comfortably wide after getting on the end of Lucas Digne’s cross.

The home side raised the tempo just before the half-hour mark, but Rudi Garcia’s men proceeded to waste three genuine chances which they were made to pay for.

Ronny Rodelin squandered the first opportunity as he pick-pocketed Tino Costa on the edge of his own area but could only direct his shot straight at Vicente Guaita.

Next to test the Valencia goalkeeper was Rio Mavuba, but the central midfielder’s low effort was easily reached by Guaita, and Salomon Kalou made it a hat-trick of chances squandered as he blazed wide a free kick from a dangerous area.

Lille were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal, with the visitors taking the lead towards the end of the first half when they were awarded a penalty by referee Aleksandar Stavrev for Marko Basa’s foul on Jonas.

The Brazilian was bundled over by the Lille centre-half after taking down Aly Cissokho’s cross with a deft touch and wriggling past the Montenegrin, with the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Jonas picked himself up and placed the ball on the spot before dispatching the ball low into the left-hand corner and out of the reach of Elana to give los Che the advantage at half-time.

Lille started the second half with a much more attacking impetus and began to threaten the Valencia backline from the off.

The warning signs were there when Gianni Bruno was inches away from getting on the end of Digne’s inviting cross and les Dogues should have been level after 50 minutes but for a goal-line intervention from Nelson Valdez.

Rodelin fired in a low shot after the ball fell kindly to him in the area and while his low drive beat Guaita in goal, Valdez read the situation perfectly and was able to block the effort before it could nestle in the far corner.

Valencia soaked up a great deal of pressure from the home side and almost added a second with 20 minutes remaining, but while Jonas' effort had Elana rooted, the ball whizzed just wide of the upright.

Kalou had a glaring opportunity to grab his side a point late on but his effort from inside the box was kept out by Guaita’s diving save, and substitute Payet clipped the crossbar with less than five minutes left on the clock on a frustrating night for Rudi Garcia’s men.