Lille through to Champions League play-offs

AFP
Grasshoppers Zurich's midfielder Yoric Ravet (L) challenges Lille's French defender Sebastien Corchia on August 5, 2014 (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen )

Grasshoppers Zurich's midfielder Yoric Ravet (L) challenges Lille's French defender Sebastien Corchia on August 5, 2014

Grasshoppers Zurich's midfielder Yoric Ravet (L) challenges Lille's French defender Sebastien Corchia on August 5, 2014 (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen )

Paris (AFP) - 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.

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