OL went down 1-0 to Juventus. After neither side could gain the upper hand in the first half, Juventus looked far more dangerous in the second. Defensively solid for much of the match, Olympique Lyonnais cracked in the final minutes and must now in the return leg in Turin...
"We have a mountain to climb." The words of the OL coach on the eve of the Europa League quarter-final first leg. His men would not only be up against Italy's most successful club in Juventus. But they were also playing the first leg at home and obliged to get a result at the Stade de Gerland. Rémi Garde was still without a raft of injured players, but did welcome back Umtiti in central defence alongside Koné, while Briand got the nod in attack ahead of Gomis. Otherwise, it was the same team that took on Saint-Etienne in last weekend's derby. Pirlo, Pogba, Buffon, Tévez…Juventus boast quality players...
The atmosphere was building
There was a real Champions League feel about this match with a sold-out crowd signing and chanting. Juve put their foot on the ball early in the opening minutes as Lyon looked happy to sit back and defend. There was an early chance when Pirlo's free-kick was headed wide of the goal by Tevez. After two nervy moments, OL came into the game slowly but surely. It still wasn't easy against the Italian champions and OL seemed to take two steps back to take one forward. Fortunately, Juventus abused the long balls a little in the opening period and failed to play their best football.
Two sides defending well
OL were excellent at the back and conceded very few chances. And it was the home side went on the attack as Malbranque saw his effort from just inside the area punched clear by Buffon, and then Briand chipped the ball over the 'keeper and just over the crossbar... The reply from Juventus was immediate. Pirlo sent a magnificent clipped pass over the top for Tévez, but Lopes was quickly off his line to save. The first half an hour saw both sides largely cancelling each other out. Neither side wanted to take too many risks...
Lyon, and then Juve, on the attack
OL tried to make the breakthrough late in the first half with a series of corners and free-kicks…in vain. Umtiti brought the best out of Buffon with a powerful free-kick. Tevez failed to worry Lopes. Les Lyonnais continued to push for the opener. But Pirlo caused panic in the OL defensive ranks. Despite a lot of technical mistakes, Juventus were looking more and more dangerous. Lopes saved from Giovinco before Asamoah saw his shot blocked. Bédimo was under attack. With 20 minutes left to play, OL were under the hammer, unable to escape as Juve tightened the screw.
Bonucci put his side on the road to victory
OL looked they had weathered the storm. The home side looked to create danger with the odd counterattack. Briand was just a few centimetres short of getting on the end of one cross after a raid up field. Vucinic then missed the unmissable from just six yards out. But in the end, after a goal-mouth scramble, Bonucci fired the ball home into the roof of the net. OL tried to fight back one more time... in vain...
Olympique Lyonnais 1–0 Juventus Turin (Half-time: 0 – 0)
Lyon, Stade de Gerland. 37,084 spectators.
Referee: William Collum.
Olympique Lyonnais: A.Lopes, Tolisso, B.Koné, Umtiti, Bedimo, Gonalons, Ferri, Malbranque (Fekir 86’), Mvuemba, Briand (N’Jie 89’), Lacazette (Gomis 75’). Coach: Rémi Garde.
Juventus: Buffon, Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini, Isla (Lichtsteiner 78’), Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah, Tevez (Vucinic 56’), Osvaldo (Giovinco 63’). Coach: Antonio Conte.
Goals: Bonucci (86’).
Bookings: Tolisso (OL) 42’, Lopes (OL) 68’, Giovinco (J) 68’, Vucinic (J) 90’.