In matchday five's early kick-off, the defending Ligue 1 champions made short work of their Russian opponents to set up an enthralling final round of games in Group BLille remain in the hunt for a spot in the Champions League Round of 16 after a 2-0 win over CSKA Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium, in Group B's early kick-off.
An own goal by Vasili Berezutski and an opportunistic strike by Moussa Sow sealed the points for the French side, who were aided by impressive performances from Eden Hazard and Joe Cole.
The pair created the first opportunity of the game with a quarter of an hour gone. Hazard picked out Cole in the area with a clever dinked ball, but the Englishman’s turn took him onto his right foot and his shot went straight into the arms of Vladimir Gabulov.
Lille were keeping CSKA penned back in their own half, and went even closer to breaking the deadlock five minutes later. Sergey Ignashevich’s weak clearing header from a corner was sent back towards Mathieu Debuchy, who smacked a volley onto the crossbar from 10 yards out.
The home side were on the back foot, but were nearly granted a fluke goal in the 28th minute. Dzagoev’s corner wrong footed Mickael Landreau to almost fly straight in, but the Frenchman recovered from his slip at the last second to make a solid reflex save.
However, that chance proved to be something of an aberration amid consistent Lille pressure, and the French side spurned another golden opportunity to open the scoring five minutes before the interval. A great ball by Cole found Sow in a tangle with Gabulov and Ignashevich in the box. The rebound spilled to Franck Beria, who somehow sent the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.
CSKA did not hold Lille off for long after the restart, though it was an own goal that finally gave the Ligue 1 champions a deserved lead in the 49th minute. Cole played another telling ball into the danger area, and Vasili Berezutski’s attempted clearance instead flew into the goal just under the crossbar.
Rudi Garcia’s men maintained their offensive dominance, and doubled their advantage in the 64th minute. Hazard was at the centre of things again, playing a brilliant pass that put Cole clean through on goal. His flicked effort bounced off the post, but Sow reacted a split second faster than Gabulov to slide the ball home.
Alexandrs Cauna gave Lille a scare with 20 minutes remaining when his crashing long range drive appeared to be heading for the top corner, but Landreau managed to get the slightest of touches to divert the shot around the post.
The match slowed down shortly after, with both teams seemingly accepting of the result. Lille played out the remaining time with consummate ease to claim a much needed three points.
The result sees Lille join CSKA Moscow and Trabzonspor on five points, setting up an enthralling final round of group fixtures. Table-toppers Inter meanwhile qualify for the next stage ahead of their clash with Trabzonspor, by virtue of their total of 9 points.
The final round of matches in Group B in a fortnight's time will see Lille welcome Trabzonspor, while Inter host CSKA.