After setting up their only goal in Saturday's 1-1 draw, Rony Lopes had to leave the pitch with a hamstring injury. He will miss two-three weeks.
The attacking midfielder had been a huge success in the early part of the season, but injuries have stopped the Portuguese playmaker from really hitting his stride in Northern France.
Earlier in the season, against Bastia, the midfielder had to come off with a hamstring injury. He would go on to miss five games, all of which the team that finished 3rd last season lost, only scored three goals in his absence.
There was optimism in the faces of the Lille fans as they celebrated the clubs 70th anniversary on Saturday evening. Michael Frey scored the opening goal of the game against Saint-Etienne, with Lopes the provider, although it was his wayward shot that found its way to the feet of Frey.
Before the half time whistle, Lille were dealt a huge blow as Lopes hobbled off the pitch. After the game, Lille coach René Girard confirmed that it was Lopes hamstring again, but that after six weeks out, there was no risk taken with the player. He was ready to return and it is a huge disappointment to lose him again.
Lille then confirmed on their website on Monday morning that Lopes would miss the next two to three weeks, ruling him out of Thursday’s game against Everton and most likely Russian side Krasnodar at the end of the month.
This latest injury comes as a bigger blow after Lille’s recent results. After abject performances against Rennes, Guingamp and Lyon, the spark that Lopes gave the home side against Saint-Etienne was exactly what the team was lacking.
Lopes was going to be one of the key elements if Lille stood a chance against Everton at Goodison Park. In the 0-0 draw in France, Lille were tough defensively, but struggled to trouble the Everton back line.
Lille will hope to get Lopes back as soon as possible, and they will hope that he can play for the majority of the season. It’s scary for the French side that two of their best players are on loan teenagers. It doesn’t bode well for the future, but without them, the present doesn’t look too bright either.