first team / 2009 Review

OL up against the wall!

Published on the 29 December 2009 à 10:22 by GG

A look back on one of the events which marked 2009...

Last season OL, who were dreaming of making t through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League three years after their painful failure against AC Milan, lost a great deal of their illusions once the draw was made. Effectively, OL inherited quite an opponent, FC Barcelona, who had put in an (almost) perfect season. The Catalans, leaders in the Liga also had put in a remarkable group phase of the Champions League. First in Group C, FC Barcelona, with the best attack in the competition, had scored 18 goals in 6 group stage matches. Henry, Messi, Eto’o... The attacking trio were putting Europe to the sword and Lyon would experience the same thing.

However, in the first leg at Gerland, OL started the match perfectly. Juninho, the captain, opened the scoring with his 42nd goal from a free-kick in an OL jersey (1-0, 7’). After putting in a superb first half, OL went in ahead at the break, put would crack under the pressure after an hour of play. From a corner, Rafael Marquez flicked on the ball to Thierry Henry, up until then fairly quiet, who threw himself to score a goal that would be infinitely important in Spain (1-1, 67’).

At the Nou Camp, OL would go through a nightmare of an evening. Henry (25’ & 27’), Messi (40’), Eto'o (43’) putting Barcelona into a swift 4-0 lead. Just before half-time, Jean II Makoun reduced the lead by scoring a header from a corner. On their return from the dressing room, Juninho’s goal even offered them a ray of hope, but FC Barcelona remained calm. Despite a good chance for Karim Benzema, the Catalans controlled the match without trembling and validated their qualification for the quarter-finals with a goal from the former Lens player Seydou Keita (5-2, 95’).

For the second year in a row OL were eliminated from the last 16 by the future winner of the competition. Scant consolation indeed, but consolation nevertheless…