Valencia concedes late in 1-1 draw against last-place Lille
LILLE, France (AP) — Valencia conceded a stoppage-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw against last-place Lille on Wednesday to miss an opportunity to move into a three-way tie at the top of Group H in the Champions League.
Denis Cheryshev put Valencia ahead in the 63rd minute after a pass by Kevin Gameiro following a fast breakaway, but substitute Jonathan Ikoné equalized for the hosts with a shot from inside the area in the fifth minute of injury time.
"We didn't play a good game, we know that," Valencia coach Albert Celades said. "They were better than us and created many chances. They made it difficult for us. We need to keep improving." A win would have left Valencia with six points, tied with Chelsea and Ajax after three matches, but the draw left it with four instead. Chelsea won 1-0 at Ajax earlier on Wednesday.
Lille earned its first point. "I'm disappointed for my players, because they played a real Champions League match," Lille coach Christophe Galtier said. "We really dominated our opponents, unfortunately without making the most of our favorable situations."
The hosts were in control throughout the game but couldn't capitalize on its numerous chances until Ikoné's goal. Yusuf Yazici's long-range shot struck the crossbar in the 40th, and substitute Loic Remy squandered a great chance in the 74th when his shot from near the penalty spot missed wide. Lille wanted a penalty late in the first half for a handball from a Valencia player inside the area but video review determined there was no foul.
Making its first group stage appearance in seven seasons, Lille had lost seven of its last eight Champions League games. Valencia played a man down from the 84th as Mouctar Diakhaby was sent off with a second yellow card for a foul to stop a counterattack.
"I need to apologize to my teammates for being sent off," Diakhaby said.
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