After Match Day Three of the Champions League, only four of the 32 clubs in the competition had not conceded a single goal: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and AC Milan accompanied OL in this exceptional defensive feat…
Neither Real Madrid, nor Steaua Bucarest, nor Dynamo Kiev – twice – have managed to find a away passed Lyon’s goalkeepers. Grégory Coupet, who set himself the aim of not conceding any goals, denied Real and Steaua in the two opening matches, while Rémy Vercoutre continued the job in Kiev. “More than an understudy – A second No.1. Thankyou Rémy” read the banner from the Bad Gones supporters during Greg’s return against Nancy.
While the team stays on track for a perfect six out of six, the challenge of keeping as many clean-sheets has become the second obsession of the team. In the first half, François Clerc’s intervention (17’) and Sébastien Squillaci’s tackle (18’) prevented Coupet from being called into action. “The less I have to do the better I look,” admitted the France No.1 after his “tranquil” return last weekend against Nancy. His first alert came on the half-hour when he charged out of his box to diffuse the danger ahead of Kleber.
In the absence of Claudio Caçapa and Patrick Müller, still on the comeback trail, Squillaci stepped up to the plate. Alongside Cris, he had another first-rate match in looking after the opposition attackers. Great in the air and disciplined throughout, Grégory Coupet’s second body guard played a major role in keeping Lyon in the clear. Cris delivered an equally solid performance, denying the Ukrainians led predominantly by Cernat and Kleber. His control on the chest and perfect pass under pressure from Milevski highlighted the Brazilian’s talent (38’).
And when Dynamo pushed for a late equaliser, it was Coupet’s turn to show his class. He punched clear Rodrigo’s free-kick (69’), beat Shatskihk to a ball 25 metres from his goal with a flying header (74’) and saved Kleber’s header from six yards out (80’). His biggest scare came when Milevski tackled a ball goalwards from just five metres out. Much to the shot-stopper’s relief, he watched as the ball flew across the face and beyond the far post.
Olympique Lyonnais kept another clean-sheet. An invincibility that Lyon will now take to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 21 and the revenge seeking Real. A challenge that also hides another: that of finishing top of Group E.