Lyons reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time thanks to a brave rearguard action marshalled by their goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, in Bordeaux last night.
The Girondins' striker Marouane Chamakh scored on the stroke of halftime to keep his team's hopes of qualifying alive, but the visitors held firm to win 3-2 on aggregate. The Morocco international slid home a cross from Benoït Tremoulinas that was diverted by Jaroslav Plasil. But Bordeaux could not score again to advance on away goals, with Lloris making a crucial save in the 87th minute, leaping to palm away a powerful header from the Brazilian midfielder Geraldo Wendel.
When the referee blew the final whistle, the Lyons players jumped on the France keeper in jubilation. In the last four they will play Bayern Munich, who advanced on away goals despite losing 3-2 at Manchester United.
"It was a match that was not easy," said the Lyons coach, Claude Puel. "Even though we told ourselves that we should play as if it was 0-0 in the first leg, we felt pressure. We were too much on the back foot in the first half. We handled the second half better."
The Bordeaux coach, Laurent Blanc, took a gamble by starting Marc Planus in his first match since he sprained his knee last month. Blanc made that move after defensive blunders had handed Lyons the first-leg initiative. "It's more in the first leg that we have regrets," Blanc said. "We did what we had to do in the second leg. I have regrets over the first leg, where our lack of defensive experience cost us at least two goals."
Lyons created the first two chances – a long-range free-kick from Michel Bastos that sailed wide in the ninth minute and an off-target header from Bafetimbi Gomis in the 13th – but Bordeaux gradually took control. Five minutes later, the Bordeaux playmaker Yoann Gourcuff beat Lloris to a free-kick from Wendel, only to head over. Lyons were in more trouble when Aly Cissokho shoved Wendel to the ground, earning a yellow card, and Cissokho was lucky not to be sent off when he fouled the same player again five minutes later.
Bordeaux stepped up the pressure with a half-volley from their captain, Alou Diarra, that rattled the bar in the 44th minute off a pass from Chamakh, who found the net himself a minute later to rouse the home crowd.
"When they scored in the first half, we didn't hang our heads low," said the Lyons defender Cris. "Before the match, we told ourselves that even if we conceded one goal, we still qualified. And that's what happened."
Lyons nearly scored after the break when Gomis outpaced the defence and dribbled past goalkeeper Cédric Carrasso, but Planus rushed back to block the tame shot. Then it was the visitors on the verge of elimination in the 80th minute when an unmarked Ludovic Sane ran to the far post for a corner, only to head the chance wide.
"We came and qualified due to our guts," Lloris said. "We gave everything. We finished the match exhausted."
Bordeaux (4-2-3-1): Carrasso; Sane, Ciani, Planus (Cavenaghi, 84), Tremoulinas; Plasil, Diarra (Chalme, 70); Jussie (Gouffran, 77), Gourcuff, Wendel; Chamakh. Substitutes not used: Rame (gk), Henrique, Traoré, Bellion.
Lyons (4-3-2-1): Lloris; Reveillère, Cris, Boumsong (Bodmer, 77), Cissokho; Toulalan, Gonalons, Kallstrom; Bastos (Ederson, 88), Delgado; Gomis (Pjanic, 66). Substitutes not used: Vercoutre (gk), Gassama, Tafer, Belfodil.
Referee: A Mallenco (Spain).