first team / OL 2-0 Lorient

Lyon back on track!

Published on the 23 January 2008 à 22:39 by GV

Lyon’s midweek match with Lorient had taken on added importance following last weekend’s heavy 3-0 defeat away to Lens… But Alain Perrin’s men responded in style to recent criticism, recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Les Merlus…

Coach Alain Perrin created something of a surprise at kick-off by aligning Fred in attack, flanked by Ben Arfa and Benzema. The Brazilian striker’s last start dated back to a certain OL-OM at the Stade Gerland on November 11, 2007. In the midfield, Marc Crosas earned his second cap with the French champions while Mathieu Bodmer continued to stand in in the centre of defence. The match was not long in taking off. From the outset, Kim Kallström and Crosas tried their luck from distance: the first with his left foot, the second with his right… but wide of the mark. For Lorient, Saifi caused the Olympian defence problems. After an initial effort in the ninth minute, he was within a whisker of dousing OL’s attacking intentions: well picked out by Le Pen, he found himself one on one with Grégory Coupet, eliminated the ‘keeper with a dummy before finding… Toto Squillaci, back tracking to save his team with a goal line clearance (11’).
The Lyon response was immediate. Crosas delivered a stunning ball forward to Fred who controlled perfectly before losing his duel with Audard in the Lorient goal. Kallstrom was the next to test Audard with a cannonball shot punched clear. There was only one team left in the match. At the end of a great run Benzema went close (17’), followed by Fred from a Kallström cross (24’). And Lyon finally went ahead at the end of a flowing team move. An inch-perfect cross from captain Jérémy Toulalan found Fred he laid the ball back into the path of Ben Arfa whose first-time effort with the left foot beat Audard for the first time in the match. It was the No.18’s sixth goal in the current league campaign.

Leading 1-0, OL continued to attack. Benzema inherited a cross from Clerc only to see his shot turned onto the crossbar by Audard! The same result was reserved for Fred from a Kallström corner just minutes later… Surviving twice off the woodwork allowed Lorient to reach the half-time break just one goal down.

With the second half underway, Marin (55’) and Jouffre (61’) rapidly replaced Ewolo and Vahirua, who had a quiet evening at the Stade Gerland. Ciani then drew a save from Coupet with a good header(50’), but just as Lorient appeared to be coming back into the game Karim Benzema ended it as a contest… his charge into the area was followed by a superb left-footed effort which (again!) rebounded off the crossbar… Fred’s follow up shot was then cleared off the line by Ciani!

It looked as though it just wasn’t Benzema’s night… but one must never say never… With 15 minutes left on the clock, the league’s top scorer was released by Kallström and this time the 20-year-old made no mistake from just inside the penalty box. It was the striker’s 14th goal this season and he quit the field to a standing ovation as Delgado, Paillot and Rémy all came into the game. Despite a last effort from Saifi (91’), Jérémy Toulalan and Co. recorded a deserved win, just days before the derby match this weekend!
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