In great form, the Olympians overcame Benfica (2-0) and have taken an option on a qualification for the last 16 of the competition.
OL welcomed Benfica to Gerland for the third group match of the Champions League. With six points already, a win in Lyon would be a great step towards the knockout stages of the competition. Gerland had understood because the atmosphere that prevailed was that of the top European evenings.
The encounter started at breakneck pace, with great speed and intensity. The first attempt was signed Yoann Gourcuff but the ball went over the bar (7’). Just afterwards, Lisandro was well served in the penalty area but his shot was blocked in extremis. The Portuguese showed themselves to be incisive on the counter attack, grappling the slightest ball lost in the midfield by OL. The first sign of real action was a fantastic shoot from Bastos which hit the post of Roberto. In the continuity of the action Bastos was played out wide on the left by Gourcuff and crossed for Briand who headed home (21’). Gerland exploded! OL were playing attractive football and came close to doubling their lead which they would have without a stray Portuguese foot. The tension mounted as the minutes ticked by and the Gaitan the Benfica left back after collecting two yellow cards in ten minutes. The Spanish referee brought the half to a close with OL one goal ahead.
Dès le retour des vestiaires les joueurs de Claude Puel se créèrent une belle occasion par l’intermédiaire de Lisandro qui reprit un centre de Pjanic directement dans les bras du portier lusitanien. Bastos se joua de son défenseur direct avant de catapulter le cuir sur l’angle du but (48e). Servi par Briand, Lisandro manqua à son tour le cadre pour quelques centimètres. Les Lyonnais mettaient une pression de tous les instants. Alors que Briand avait trouvé le poteau, Lisandro doublait la mise en deux temps après un premier arrêt de Roberto (51e). Le portier lusitanien fut à nouveau à l’épreuve sur une volée monstrueuse de Michel Bastos qui filait dans le cadre (59e). Les Lisboètes souffraient le martyr et leur gardien les sauvaient une nouvelle fois sur un coup franc de Gourcuff puis une tentative à bout portant de Bastos (62e). Durant le dernier quart d’heure, Cris et ses coéquipiers se contentaient de gérer le match. Monsieur Undiano Mallenco siffla la fin du match sur ce score de 2 buts à 0. Le chemin vers les huitièmes de finale de la Ligue des champions semblait désormais tout tracé.
Right from the restart Claude Puel’s players created an opportunity through Lisandro who picked up on a Pjanic cross, but the ball flew directly into the arms of the Portuguese goalkeeper. Bastos broke free of his defender before catapulting the ball onto the corner of the crossbar (48’). Played in by Briand, Lisandro failed to hit the target by just a few centimetres. Lyon were putting pressure on their opponents at all times. Just after Briand had hit the post, Lisandro doubled the lead at the second attempt after an initial save from Roberto (51’). The Lusitanian goalkeeper was once again put to the test from a crashing volley by Michel Bastos which was headed for the back of the net (59’). Benfica were suffering greatly and their keeper saved them once again from a Gourcuff free kick then an attempt at close range from Bastos (62’). During the last quarter of an hour, Cris and his teammates were content to manage the game. Mr. Undiano Mallenco brought the curtain down on the encounter with the score at 2-0. The road to the knockout stages of the Champions League seemed to be opening up wide for the OL squad.
OL: Lloris, Cissokho, Diakhaté, Cris, Réveillère, Gonalons, Pjanic, Gourcuff (Källström 71’), Bastos (Pied 61’), Briand, Lisandro (Gomis 82’).
Benfica: Roberto, Luisao, Javi Garcia, Aimar (Jara 71’), Maxi Pereira, Carlos Martin (Salvio 77’), Coentrao, Gaitan, David Luiz, Saviola (César Peixoto 56’).
Cautions: Réveillère (40’) for OL. Gaitan (33’ & 43’) for Benfica.
Red card: Gaitan (43’)