Olympique Lyonnais were unable to recover from the first half against Toulouse, losing 2-1 at the Stadium… Given how well they played after the break, the team can harbour its fair share of regrets...
Toulouse FC turned out in its traditional 3-5-2 formation; compared to the 3-2 loss to Nice a week earlier, Akpa-Akpro came in for Sylla and captain Aguilar returned to midfield at the expense of youngster Bodiger. Trejo was preferred to Regattin. In the OL ranks, no less than eight absentees - and no obvious choice to assume the playmaking responsibilities! Hubert Fournier chose Danic; up front, Lacazette was partnered with N’Jie, who got the nod ahead of Yattara and Benzia. Tolisso continued at left back. With Bakary Koné back in the centre of defence and Lindsay Rose on the bench, OL started with a 4-2-3-1 formation.
It was a bright start and Lopes was forced into a first save on his line inside two minutes. Moments later, at the other end, Boucher came charging out and almost knocked out his teammate Spajic. Toulouse had the upper hand and they were rewarded with the opening goal when Ferri lost the ball in midfield and Akpa Akpro took full advantage. Les Lyonnais were really struggling to get into the match… Their first chance of the game fell to Lacazette (22'). Unfortunately, Umtiti then had to leave the field with a muscle strain, replaced by Rose… Lopes produced another incredible save to deny Braithwaite (40') after another turnover... before being caught out by Ben Yedder's cheeky free-kick that squeezed inside the post to make it 2-0. OL were still in the starting gates...
Would OL be capable of fighting back and showing more in the second half? Danic almost got the crucial goal early in the second half (51') but he dragged his shot wide. OL finally looked up for it, both with and without the ball. A Jallet cross caused panic in the TFC box and almost ended up as an own goal (56')… The TFC were sitting deeper and deeper. Bahlouli came on for Danic on the hour mark to play in attacking midfield. Toulouse were nervy... Matheus was forced off... But OL couldn't get the goal they needed to get back in the game. Yattara came on for N’Jie with 15 minutes left. Finally Lacazette scored after a clever 'screen' from Yattara.… Game on? OL pushed hard for an equaliser... but in vain as it finished 2-1 to the hosts...
Despite a number of absentees through injury and a disastrous first 45 minutes against a determined Toulouse, the team played very well in the second period. The squad must now bounce back against FC Astra in the Europa League play-off match. Fingers crossed some players start making their return from injury and that Umtiti is not set for another long spell on the sidelines...
In Toulouse, at Le Stadium, approx. 17,000 spectators; referee: Mr. Varela. TFC 2-1 OL (half-time: TFC 2-1 OL).
TFC: Boucher – Veskovac (Moubandje 59'), Spajic, Grigore – Akpa Akpro, Aguilar (cap), Trejo (Regattin 81'), Matheus (Sylla 67'), Didot – Braithwaite, Ben Yedder. Coach: Casanova.
OL: Lopes – Jallet, B. Koné, Umtiti (Rose 27'), Tolisso – Gonalons (cap), Ferri - N’Jie (Yattara 73'), Mvuemba, Danic (Bahlouli 60') – Lacazette. Coach: Fournier.
Goals: Akpa Akpro (T) 9', Ben Yedder (T) 44', Lacazette (OL) 75'
Bookings: Veskovac (T) 20', Mvuemba (OL) 43', Grigore (T) 56', Moubandjé (T) 83'