Kalou strike sinks St Etienne
Solomon Kalou's strike was enough to end St Etienne's perfect start to the Ligue 1 season as Lille ran out 1-0 winners.
Last Updated: 25/08/13 3:46pm
A solitary Solomon Kalou strike was enough to end St Etienne's perfect start to the Ligue 1 season as Lille ran out 1-0 winners under the closed roof of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
The former Chelsea striker's first-half penalty was the first league goal conceded by Les Verts this season and it was enough move the hosts level on points with them in Ligue 1.
In a quiet opening to the game, Lille's Marvin Martin was the first to warm Stephane Ruffier's palms but his shot after cutting in from the right was gathered with ease.
Both sides lacked a cutting edge but, with the visitors seemingly happy to sit back and defend, the game sprang into life with eight minutes left to play in the first half.
Kalou burst into the area but his run was halted by Jeremy Clement and referee Clement Turpin pointed at the spot before the Ivorian dusted himself down to send Ruffier the wrong way from 12 yards.
There was still time before the break for Martin to try and catch out Ruffier after seeing him off his line but Lille went in one up at the interval.
The visitors finally began to threaten early in the second half when Josua Guilavogui picked out Idriss Saadi in the area but his bicycle kit finished up wide of the goal.
Saadi was subbed off soon after for Romain Hamouma who managed a brace last season against the hosts but his introduction failed to bring a similar response from Christophe Galtier's men.
If anything it was Lille who were looking the more likely to score as Ronny Rodelin forced a diving save from Ruffier after Guilavogui picked him out with less than 20 minutes left to play.
An uninpsiring St Etienne did manage to apply some pressure late on and substitute Hamouma thought he'd won a penalty after Marko Basa appeared to make contact in the area but the referee waved away the players' claims.
Despite pushing Kurt Zouma up front late on, the visitors failed to break down a resolute Lille defence and Rene Girard's men took home all three points.