Football: Forest stand firm against Lyon's assault
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Wednesday 06 December 1995
Nottingham Forest revived memories of their European glory years with a defensive performance that echoed the finest of the Brian Clough era. Their fifth successive European clean sheet meant Paul McGregor's late first-leg goal at the City Ground remained the only one in this tense Uefa Cup third-round tie.
Forest can now look forward to a quarter-final in March. Sadly for Forest, Colin Cooper will miss the first leg after being booked for needlessly kicking the ball away. The draw will be made on Friday.
For Olympique Lyonnais the night brought only misery. As in Nottingham they finished with no goals and 10 men, Florian Maurice being dismissed in the closing minutes for elbowing Cooper.
It was a night for heroes in this ancient French city and Forest had plenty of them. Mark Crossley, the goalkeeper, and the England defenders, Cooper and Stuart Pearce, stood out, but they all deserved praise. Jason Lee epitomised the collective effort, running himself to exhaustion in his first match in 17 days.
Lee was ably assisted by Stephen Howe, who overcame a nervous start to only his fifth full appearance to play a full part in the drama. The pair had not played together before but, within five minutes they demonstrated a natural understanding. Chris Bart-Williams, who had a sterling game in the midfield holding role, chipped the ball into Lee who chested it on to the running Howe. Unfortunately, he shot well wide.
Lyon had a few long-range shots but, with 20 minutes gone, Forest had quietened the crowd enough for their own fans to be heard. But then Maurice galvanised the atmosphere again. First the talented striker had a shot blocked by Cooper, then he headed just wide at the far post.
The game was increasingly being played in a 20-yard zone in front of the Forest penalty area, but there were occasional spells of Forest pressure. During one of these, Lee's aerial power so angered Pascal Olmeta that the Lyon goalkeeper was booked for over-reacting to a challenge.
As half-time approached, Crossley showed he had overcome some uncharacteristic early diffidence in style. Having dealt with a low shot from Ludovic Giuly he touched a Maurice free-kick around the post. From the corner he made a brilliant save from Cedric Bardon.
Maurice continued to be a threat and only a late block prevented him grabbing an equaliser after 52 minutes. Giuly and Bardon then had goalbound shots blocked as Forest continued to fray their supporters' nerves.
Frank Clark brought on Alf-Inge Haaland in an attempt to ease the pressure, but it almost led to a goal as the Norwegian lost possession. The ball came to Giuly whose shot brought another outstanding save from Crossley.
With three minutes left Maurice lashed out at Cooper and departed. His sorry exit did not quite sum up Lyon's night, Stephane Roche did. When the referee finally ended five agonising minutes of injury time, and Crossley had left his unblemished goal, Roche angrily had one last shot - it hit the bar.
Forest's night was encapsulated by Frank Clark basking in the adoration of their fans. The next task for the master tactician is clear. After defeating successive teams of French strikers (their last opponents were Auxerre) a call for advice from Jaques Chirac must be imminent.
Lyon (4-5-1): Olmeta; Moulin, Sassus, Marcelo, Roy; Rivenet (Assadourian, 77), Deplace, Giuly (Roche, 86), Devaux, Bardon (Chavrondier, 77); Maurice.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-1-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Bart-Williams, Gemmill (Haaland, 72), Woan; Howe; Lee (Silenzi, 85).
Referee: M van der Ende (Netherlands).
More football, results, page 27
Latest in Sport
UFC 190 Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correia: What time does it start and where can I watch it, plus Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Norwich City mocked after revealing terrible new third kit - which is also yellow and green
Manchester United 2015/16 kit unveiled: Morgan Schneiderlin leads the Adidas campaign as new shirt is launched
Ashes 2015: Mitchell Johnson goads England fans as Edgbaston crowd shows little mercy for Australia
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
- 5 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...