OL are well and truly back on track to qualify for the round of 16 in the Champions League. The 1-0 victory in Zagreb, together with Sevilla's loss to Juve, gives Bruno Genesio's team good cause to believe in their chances ahead of the final matchday.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you Bruno and the whole team." With these simple words on his Twitter account, Jean-Michel Aulas saluted his team's victory on Tuesday in Zagreb, a victory that set up an amazing final fixture that will determine second place in Group H on 7 December at the Parc OL.
Who would have believed that, at the end of the away phase, Bruno Genesio's team would sit in third place with a mere three points after two defeats against their qualification rivals, Sevilla and Juventus? "I didn't think we would still be alive by the time Matchday 6 came around," Bruno Genesio told OLTV a few minutes after the win in Zagreb. "We held out to the end and even if things weren't all perfect - far from it - I must congratulate my players."
For sure. OL have already secured a Europa League berth - at least. But this side is ambitious and is aiming much higher. "We've already done better than last year so we are making progress," said Anthony Lopes, also on the club's official channel. And Max Gonalons and his teammates are out to give their all against a Sevilla team that had a nightmarish evening: the expulsion of striker Franco Vasquez at the end of the first half; a contested penalty for a foul by Mercado, which let Juve equalise before the break; a catastrophic end to the match with two goals scored in the last ten minutes; and, on top of all that, their coach Jorge Sampaoli was sent off.
In Spain, the defeat against Juventus (1-3) is still being talked about and Sevilla, who thought they would arrive in Lyon with their qualification already established, are going to have to revise their plans to secure a place in the round of 16. "Qualifying depends solely on us and that is what matters; we will try to shore up the midfield," said Iborra on Sevilla's club website in a bid to steady the ship. "We'll be taking the field at Lyon with high hopes and the will to play our best football."
But it's clear that Matchday 5 has completely reshuffled the cards in Group H. And while OL have to win by two clear goals, the players will be able to count on the support of a very vocal crowd on 7 December. Of course, nothing is certain and the challenge is a complex one, but OL once again hold their destiny in their own hands. And that's the important thing.