LOSC Lille Metropole began life in their impressive new stadium on Friday with a 1-1 draw against AS Nancy-Lorraine in Ligue 1.
In front of a sell-out crowd at the 50,000-seat stadium, last year’s double winners fell behind due to a Djamel Bakar strike, but drew level before the break thanks to summer signing Salomon Kalou’s headed effort.
Lille, seen by many as the most likely challengers to title favorites Paris Saint-Germain, started the campaign with a 2-1 victory at Saint-Etienne last week, but were dealt a blow ahead of this game when robust center-back Marko Basa was forced to pull out injured.
His place went to former Newcastle defender David Rozehnal, and there was nothing he or his teammates could do to stop Nancy taking the lead in the 33rd minute.
Bakar skipped away from Lille captain Rio Mavuba before beating goalkeeper Mickael Landreau with a superb curling shot from 25 yards.
That was the first shot on target of the game, although Tulio De Melo did head just wide for Lille from a Marvin Martin free-kick early on, before Kalou contrived to shoot wide after finding himself clean through on goal.
However, Lille stayed faithful to their flowing passing game after going behind and, after Nancy skipper Andre Luiz almost turned the ball into his own net, the hosts’ two biggest summer signings combined to haul them level.
Martin’s cross from the right was of the highest quality and Kalou’s well-placed header looped over ’keeper Guy Roland N’Dy Assembe and in.
There were six games scheduled to be played yesterday with champions Montpellier Herault set to go to Lorient and Olympique Lyonnais also in action at home to ES Troyes AC, while PSG are to travel to Ajaccio this evening looking for a first win of the season.