Having had a hard time of it lately, OL went to Angers looking for a precious win in the race for a top-four place but also for some positive preparation for their European semi-final in Amsterdam. The big blemish of the evening was Tolisso’s going off injured...
. HIGHLIGHTS .
11’. Jallet makes a decisive intervention from under the feet of Mangani, who was about to shoot.
15’. Lopes parries Santamaria’s shot from 20 metres.
17’. Valbuena scores a lucky goal when a deflected cross bounces in off him. 0-1.
18’. Lopes saves Diedhiou’s close-range shot.
33’. Lopes makes a massive intervention to thwart Ndoye after Diakhaby’s weak back pass.
41’. Fekir scores with a curling direct free-kick. 0-2.
49’. Ndoye heads in from a corner. 1-2.
56’. Letellier turns Valbuena’s shot away.
58’. Manceau clears Diakhaby’s header off the line.
74’. Toko Ekambi hits the crossbar.
77’. Pavlovic is sent off for a reckless challenge on Tolisso, who’s forced to go off injured. 90+5’. Ghezzal’s shot is turned away by a defender’s hand.
A win was just about the only option on this trip to Angers: as much for jockeying for fourth place as for preparing for the European semi-final in Amsterdam. With Memphis and Lacazette left out, the coach didn’t hesitate to start his ‘usual team’. It was a set-up that was marked early on by difficulties in possession and build-up. Angers took advantage of their opponents’s loose balls to threaten on several occasions. But it took little more than a half-chance for Lyon to open the score against the run of play. However, Valbuena’s lucky goal at the quarter-hour mark didn’t change the run of play and Lopes had to busy himself for Diedhiou then Ndoye. His Angers counterpart was once again slightly uninspired when Fekir unleashed his free kick. So, just before the break, Lyon found themselves with a surprising two-goal lead.
No more than three minutes passed before Ndoye leapt highest to head in. This reduction in their lead spurred Lyon, as demonstrated when they created two decent chances for Valbuena and Diakhaby. But the Angers players hadn’t given up the ghost and they pushed on. Toko Ekambi’s effort bounced off Lopes’ crossbar. Pavlovic saw red after he forced Tolisso to be carried off on a stretcher… SCO didn’t lay down their weapons but, in the end, were unable to stop Lyon from picking up three precious points to retake fourth place - at least until the Bordeaux-Dijon match - and boost their confidence five days out from their big European meeting against Ajax.
. TURNING POINT .
Maximum efficiency in the first half
Only one ‘true’ shot for a return of two goals in the first half… Lyon’s conversion rate was too much for Angers, despite the latter’s domination. Bruno Genesio’s players weren’t displeased about the scenario in which they had trouble containing the opposition attacks but also managing to put some plays together before the break. They benefited from two errors from the SCO ‘keeper, who parried a cross onto Valbuena, who was happy to see the ball bounce home off his knee, then let Fekir’s free kick spin past him. In contrast, and despite being called upon many times, Anthony Lopes was once again impeccable in keeping his side out of trouble.
. THE STAT .
.TEAM SHEET .
At the Stade Raymond Kopa in Angers.L1 (Wk35) : SCO Angers-OL 1-2 (0-2)
Referee: Antony Gautier.
Goals: Valbuena (17’), Fekir (41’) for OL. Ndoye (49’) for Angers.
Yellow cards: Valbuena (35’), Gonalons (39’), Fekir (44’) for OL. Thomas (51’), Manceau (80’) for Angers.
Red card: Pavlovic (77’) for Angers.
Angers: Letellier – Cissokho, Pavlovic, Thomas, Manceau – Santamaria (Bérigaud, 70’), Ndoye (cap.), Mangani – Bamba (Capelle, 75’), Toko Ekambi, Diedhiou (Pépé, 57’). Coach: Stéphane Moulin
OL: Lopes – Jallet, Nkoulou, Diakhaby, Morel – Gonalons (cap.), Tousart – Tolisso (Ferri, 82’), Cornet (Rafael, 90’), Valbuena (Ghezzal, 75’) - Fekir. Coach: Bruno Genesio.