First to concede, OL didn’t cave in in the face of the mountain they had to climb. In a pulsating atmosphere, they scored three of the four goals they needed to force extra time, but that fourth never came despite a breathless end to the match. So cruel as they gave everything, outdid themselves. Thanks lads!
. HIGHLIGHTS .
14’. Younes’s lob goes just over.
24’. Onana holds Gonalons’ header… then Lopes saves from Ziyech.
27’. Dolberg scores at the end of a quick counter. 0-1.
45’. Lacazette earns a penalty and converts it himself. 1-1.
45+1’. Lacazette slots into an empty goal from Fekir’s cross. 2-1.
50’. Onana holds Diakhaby’s effort.
65’. Huge chance for Fekir, who doesn’t find the target.
76’. Onana saves in front of Rybus.
79’. Van den Beek hit the crossbar.
81’. Ghezzal scores with a powerful header.
84’. Viegerver is sent off. 89’. Cornet shoots just wide.
The atmosphere in the Parc OL was truly special: at the high level of the feat that it’s team had to pull off. After a very intense opening ten minutes spent mostly in the Ajax half, the visitors finally found some breathing space and created the clearest chances of the opening period. OL found themselves too exposed, particularly in set pieces. And the inevitable soon came to pass. On a quick counter attack, Dolberg dinked the ball over Lopes to put OL a little farther away from a European final. Well, that’s what the Dutch could say to themselves… But despite the trouble Lyon were having creating a threat to Onana’s goal, Lacazette fully kickstarted his team with two goals in the space of a few seconds, just before the break. OL could believe again and the scoreline was a minor miracle given the nature of the first half.
The start of the second half gave plenty of hope to a team and stadium playing as one. Diakhaby’s effort, then Lacazette’s shot didn’t quite have enough sting, but there was an undeniable sense that something wasn’t far off happening. Fekir missed a huge chance to get closer to the dream that so many had been hanging onto. That was the last decent chance for a while… until the final quarter of an hour and that save by Onana to deny Rybus. However, there was nothing the Dutch keeper could do about Ghezzal’s header that brought OL closer to parity exactly ten minutes from the end in an indescribable atmosphere. A final period to take the breath away against a team reduced to ten… a team that, in the end, didn’t allow OL to force an extension of time that the latter probably deserved. The first leg disaster was too heavy and the European adventure ends at the door to the final. So cruel as they gave everything, outdid themselves. Thanks lads!
. TURNING POINT .
Cornet's shot and extra time only a few millimetres away
As with this chance for the Lyon forward, OL went extremely close to pulling something special off. After the Dutch opened the score at the half-hour mark, Lyon had only an hour to score not three, but four goals to force extra time. The fourth could’ve come from this Cornet effort right at the end of normal time… But destiny decided otherwise and this shot to extend the match went millimetres wide of Onana’s goal. And the last chances in a crazed atmosphere didn’t come to anything either.
. THE STAT .
. TEAM SHEET .
At the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Décines.
Europa League (semi-final 2nd leg) : OL-Ajax Amsterdam 3-1 (2-1)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL). Attendance: 53810.
Goals: Dolberg (27’) for Ajax Amsterdam; Lacazette (45’ and 45+1’), Ghezzal (81’) for OL.
Yellow cards: Morel (18’), Tolisso (20’), Diakhaby (48’), Nkoulou (61’) and Fekir (61’) for OL ; Veltman (49’), Klaassen (50’) and Viergever (68’, 84’) for Ajax Amsterdam.
Red cards: Viergever (84’) for Ajax Amsterdam.
OL: Lopes – Rafael, Nkoulou, Diakhaby, Morel (Rybus, 74’) – Gonalons (cap.), Tolisso – Cornet, Fekir, Valbuena (Ghezzal, 77’) – Lacazette. Coach: Bruno Genesio.