first team / 2008 retrospective

March, in two ways ( I )

Published on the 17 June 2008 à 08:00 by BV

After 6 victories in as many games in France but an elimination from the last 16 in the Champions League, the month of March is a perfect example of OL's ambivalence: in France OL have no rivals, in Europe the level is still a little to high.

March 1st, Lille and Lyon find themselves at the Stade de France in front of 77 000 spectators, a new record attendance for a League 1 game. After 30 minutes of play, Fred scores the only goal of the contest, giving OL their firtst away win (on neutral ground would be more correct) in the League in three months (1 – 0). The other piece of good news, just three days before the trip to Old Trafford : Cris is available . Absent from the playing fields since the 11th of August 2007 due to ruptured cruciate ligaments, the Brazilian defender is back in contention at the best possible moment. OL seem ready for an upset …

Manchester, in the « Theatre of Dreams », OL let their european dreams evaporate, without really giving themselves the chance to prolong them (0 – 1). Once again, OL say "No" to Europe before the quarter-finals. This season, in the Champions League, OL have been on the edge too often not to fall over. Then came along a moment when fate did not smile on them, where logic takes over the exceptional, where the post stops Kader Keita’s effort, where Cristiano Ronaldo brings an OL side back to reason, an OL side too timid to hope stopping the march to victory ofManchester United, who will become great winners of the competition, two months later, 50 years after the Munich air disaster which decimated the « Busby Babes » generation.

At the end of the winter, the dnsity of the calendar gives Lyon no time to dwell on defeat, nor to heal their wounds; on the 9th of March, Bordeaux are at Gerland with a chance to get back neck and neck with their hosts at the top of the League if they win the game. Bordeaux’s hopes cannot resist a fantastic Mathieu Bodmer who scores two goals in 20 minutes, including an exceptional overhead kick. In the second half, Benzema and Keita make the score worse (4 - 2). With a 6 point lead over Bordeaux, OL make the gap that little bit bigger. Just as importantly they take a maximum of points from their closest rivals: 6 points from 6; a performance that will be decisive.