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  -   NEWS
Thursday, August 9, 2001
Parma rocked by determined Lille
By Simon Evans

Parma 0-2 Lille

PARMA, Italy, Aug 8 (Reuters) - French club Lille took a big step towards a debut appearance in the Champions League with a shock 2-0 win at Parma in their third qualifying round first leg match on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from Christoph Landrin and Johnny Ecker, the latter a spectacular long-range free-kick, gave Lille a deserved win in their first ever game in a major European club competition.

Parma, whose only appearance in the group stage of the competition came in 1997-98, now face the prospect of the UEFA Cup unless they can turn the tie around in France.

While the Italians enjoyed greater possession in midfield, Lille were a constant danger on the break with their strike pairing of Dagui Bakari and Moroccan Salaheddine Bakari proving a handful for the Italian defence.

The first Lille attack forced Parma's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey into a full-stretch save in the 12th minute as he pushed over a fierce left-foot drive from midfielder Landrin.

Three minutes later, Sylvain N'Diaye went close when he cut in from the right and fired a powerful shot from a tight angle into the side-netting.

Bassir then fed Bakari, who held off the attentions of Fabio Cannavaro before unleashing a drive which Frey again did well to push wide.

Parma, who gave debuts to four summer signings including Japanese midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata, had an appeal for a penalty turned down three minutes before the break when Nakata went down under challenge.

Then on the stroke of half-time another Parma Frenchman, Sabri Lamouchi, missed the best chance of the opening period when he poked the ball wide from point blank range.

Lille took the lead within a minute of the restart, however, when Landrin poked the ball home at the back post after an outswinging cross from Fernando D'Amico had confused Frey.

Parma lacked the fluency and inventiveness to break down a well-organised French defence, and as the game wore on the Italian side looked increasingly ragged.

Lille doubled their lead ten minutes from the end in spectacular style when defender Ecker, one of just two Lille players with previous European experience, smashed a 30-metre free-kick into the top corner of the net.

Parma striker Marco Di Vaio, whose determination was one of the few plus points for Renzo Ulivieri's side, went close in the 84th minute with a left-foot shot, and Parma wasted a good chance to pull a goal back in the final seconds.

Nestor Sensini, though, could only head a Junior cross straight at Lille keeper Gregory Wimbee.

The Italians, who unlike their opponents have not yet begun their domestic campaign, now have a fortnight to find a way to avoid repeating the disappointment of two years ago when they were eliminated at the same stage by Scotland's Rangers.

 


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