DefencIt was the end of a series of records as OL went down to Saint-Etienne on Sunday. The leading two have skipped clear and the chasing pack has closed in...
It's the derby against Saint-Etienne, so what more needs to be said? OL are undefeated in their last ten league games and will be sitting third on the ladder on Monday morning, irrespective of the result. OL are also undefeated at Le Chaudron in 20 years and have won the last six in a row... Les Verts played in the Europa League on Thursday night. They are four points behind their rivals. They are undefeated in their last five league matches, but have had too many draws to really advance in the standings. They are organised in defence, but have struggled in attack. Apart from Nantes, all the other sides at the top of the table won this weekend...
For Les Verts, Clerc and Erding are missing. They line-up in a 5-3-2 formation to try and counter their guests. For OL, Fofana, Grenier and Gourcuff are all out. Hubert Fournier stuck with the 4-4-2 formation with the diamond midfield. Ferri returns to the starting XI and Fekir is back from suspension. He will play up front alongside Lacazette. It's the first match at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for Lopes and Fekir. A first derby for Fekir and Jallet. 8 OL academy graduates are in the starting XI.
Les Verts had the first clear chance with Van Wolfswinkel who hit Gradel's cross against the post! Les Verts were taking the game to Les Olympiens and went ahead with a thumping header from Bayal from a Gradel corner. OL were struggling to find solutions and were being pressured into mistakes. Fekir had a great chance to equalise but his effort was saved by Ruffier. OL came back into the game and saw more of the ball, enjoying a period of pressure, including four consecutive corners just before the half-hour mark. In vain… Les Stéphanois were everywhere… defending stoically and hitting on the break. Perrin and Co. were strong in the challenge and were rewarded with a second goal via Van Wolfswinkel from another Gradel cross after a mistake from Bisevac. Les Verts were giving it everything and had taken their chances to lead 2-0 at half time. Les Olympiens were really struggling to put their game plan in place...
Lacazette went close to pulling a goal back early in the second half. Perrin replied with a flick-on header that hit the crossbar! The ball continued to flow from one end to another. Gradel was a constant threat to Les Lyonnais. Tabanou drew a fine save from Lopes. NJie came on for Malbranque and Fekir assumed the playmaking responsibilities. Les Olympiens pushed forward but left themselves exposed to Les Verts counterattacks, led by the irrepressible Gradel. Lopes kept his side in it. Ghezzal came on for Ferri (65') and OL switched to three up front. But Cohade made the game safe after an error from Tolisso! The Cauldron was boiling over. Lacazette missed a penalty… Lacazette hit the post; Njie was denied by Ruffier. A 3-0 loss. A sad night. Les Verts deserved their victory, thanks to their burning desire and determination and the fact that they attacked constantly and always looked menacing.
OL failed to match their highly-motivated rivals in several departments. Three goals conceded and several glaring mistakes. It was a bad derby for OL and the end of their undefeated run, and 20 years of invincibility at Geoffroy-Guichard. Les Phocéens and Parisiens have skipped clear… Stade Rennais, Les Girondins, Les Stéphanois have closed up right behind Gonalons and Co.. The team must bounce back next Thursday against Stade de Reims…
In St-Etienne, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard; 37,500 spectators; Referee, Mr Turpin. ASSE 3-0 OL (H-T: ASSE 2-0 OL)
ASSE: Ruffier – Théophile-Catherine, Bayal, Pogba, Perrin (c), Tabanou (Brison 82') – Lemoine, Clément (Diomandé 52') – Cohade – Gradel, Van Wolfswinkel (Monnet-Paquet 72'). Coach: Galtier.
OL: Lopes – Jallet, Bisevac, Umtiti, Bedimo – Gonalons (c), Ferri (Ghezzal 65'), Tolisso (Mvuemba 75'), Malbranque (NJie 55') – Fekir, Lacazette. Coach: Fournier.
Goals: Bayal 18', Van Wolfswinkel 40', Cohade 68'Bookings: Diomandé (ASSE) 84'