Lille through to Champions League play-offs

AFP| Updated: Aug 06, 2014, 03:57 AM IST

Paris: French side Lille moved to within a step of this season`s Champions League group stage despite being held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Grasshoppers of Switzerland on Tuesday in the third qualifying round.

Lille held a 2-0 advantage from the first leg in Zurich and stretched their lead on 19 minutes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy as Florent Balmont fired in a spectacular 25-yard strike.

Grasshoppers midfielder Amir Abrashi responded with a fine long-range effort of his own just past the half-hour to give the visitors hope before Kahraba volleyed against the base of the post as the Swiss side mounted a spirited challenge.

However, any hopes of a remarkable turnaround were effectively extinguised when Daniel Pavlovic was dismissed with 20 minutes left for a poor challenge on Sebastien Corchia as Lille ultimately advanced 3-1 on aggregate.

Elsewhere Belgian side Standard Liege knocked out Panathinaikos after a 2-1 win in Greece against the 1971 European Cup finalists.

BATE Borisov of Belarus and Slovenians Maribor also moved through to the play-off round, for which the draw will be made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Friday.