UNITED POINT NOT ENOUGH FOR TOP SPOT
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
MANCHESTER UNITED put on a solid performance in France to earn a 1-1 draw with Lille, but Deportivo earned the same result at Olympiakos to claim the top spot in Group G.
Super-sub Ole Gunnar Solksjaer showed that he can be just as effective when starting the game when he smashed in an unstoppable volley after just six minutes to open the scoring for the visitors.
Bruno Cheyrou then hit a superb equaliser in the second-half and despite both sides having chances, the game remained at 1-1 to give Sir Alex Ferguson's side second place and secure Lille a place in the Uefa Cup.
Stand-in goalkeeper Roy Carroll was called into action twice early on in Lille but reacted to his call-up by producing two fine saves.
The visitors then kicked into gear and David Beckham's clever pass found Solksjaer who lashed an unstoppable left-foot shot into the far corner of the net.
The Red Devils pressed ahead for the rest of the half but could not find a second goal that would have put them in complete control.
With the English champions looking to have secured the top spot in the group, Cheyrou picked the ball up in the 65th-minute and neatly side-stepped two defenders before firing a low drive past Carroll.
The draw was not enough to see The Red Devils through as group winners, but they are safely into the next phase.
In the other game, in Athens, Alexio Alexandris opened the scoring after 51 minutes for The Greeks who were still chasing a Uefa Cup place.
The Spaniards fought back after the goal and Juan Capdevilla grabbed a point for Deportivo with just four minutes left to play.