Lille 1-1 Valencia: Ikone stunner rescues precious point for Galtier's men
Jonathan Ikone scored a dramatic late equaliser to earn Lille a 1-1 draw against 10-man Valencia and the first point of their Champions League campaign.
After Group H rivals Chelsea beat Ajax in Amsterdam, Valencia were on course to join those two sides on six points after three games when Denis Cheryshev gave the visitors a lead they barely deserved in the 63rd minute.
But the game unravelled for Albert Celades' men in the closing stages, with Mouctar Diakhaby's sending-off six minutes from time giving Lille a lengthy period of stoppage time to find an equaliser against depleted opposition.
That goal arrived courtesy of a moment of brilliance from second-half substitute Ikone, whose shot on the turn keeps hope alive for Christophe Galtier's men with three group games left to play.
Valencia almost drew first blood Kevin Gameiro tested Mike Maignan with a low drive and the visitors controlled the tempo until Lille began to fire just before the half-hour mark.
After Tiago Djalo headed wide and Victor Osimhen blazed a chance over the bar from 20 yards, Yusuf Yazici unleashed a wickedly curling shot that dipped onto the crossbar, leaving Valencia shaken at the interval.
Lille continued to pile forward in the second half but found themselves up against a packed Valencia defence as Yazici fired wide.
Maxi Gomez took a touch too many when Kevin Gameiro put him through one-on-one with Maignan but Cheryshev made no mistake moments later, receiving Gameiro's pass 12 yards out and burying the ball into the bottom corner.
Diakhaby was shown a second yellow card when he hauled down Osimhen and his dismissal revived Lille's intent to find an equaliser that duly arrived.
Jose Fonte pumped a header into the box and Benjamin Andre's knock-down was pounced upon by Ikone, who turned skilfully before lashing the ball high into the net to rescue a precious point for the hosts.What does it mean? Group H wide open
Valencia have four points from three games and will fancy their chances of stealing second place from either Ajax or Chelsea, who have both amassed six.
But with three games left to play, Lille will not give up hope as they look to build on their result here.Gameiro the creator
Gameiro looked furious when Gomez squandered the chance he laid on for him but he did not let his head drop, instead creating another for Cheryshev who buried it with aplomb.Bad night for Remy
Galtier sent on Loic Remy in an attempt to help his side convert the chances they were creating but the experienced striker missed the best of the lot before Ikone found the net.What's next?
Lille entertain Bordeaux on Saturday as they seek a first Ligue 1 victory in four matches, while Valencia are away at Osasuna in LaLiga on Sunday.
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