Late Lyon equaliser denies Liverpool win

Lyon 1 Liverpool 1

Liverpool's hearts were broken by a cruel last-minute equaliser that has all but ended their Champions League dreams for a traumatic season.

The much-maligned Ryan Babel had scored a wonderful goal with just seven minutes left and if Liverpool could have hung on to that lead they would still have had a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.

But Liverpool's season has been littered with shattering luck and bitter body blows, as well as beach-ball goals.

And when Lisandro struck an equaliser in the final seconds for Lyon - sending them into the last 16 - Liverpool knew their own hopes were left hanging by a thread.

Fiorentina's expected win over Debrecen keeps them firmly in second spot and Liverpool will need more than a miracle now after this devastating blow.

Daniel Agger passed a late fitness test on his back injury to play in this crunch Group E clash in the Stade Gerland, boosting the Anfield club's side who were eventually missing seven senior players as they battled for their European lives.

Fernando Torres was also in the starting line-up, while Alberto Aquilani was on the bench, Andriy Voronin partnering Torres up front.

Lyon made two changes from their side that won at Anfield a fortnight ago. Michel Bastos and Bafetimbi Gomis came in for Ederson and Sidney Govou, who were both in the bench.

At first Torres looked barely able to run, certainly with nothing like his usual mobility.

The occasional sprint when needed was about his limit early on such is the severity of the serious groin injury he is carrying.

Lyon may have been lulled into a false sense of security against the Spanish ace, and when he found a yard of space in the box he almost had Liverpool ahead after 12 just minutes.

Emiliano Insua swung over a cross from the left, and the striker met it first -time eight yards to force a fine point-blank save from Hugo Lloris, who was to deny Liverpool twice more before the break.

Liverpool defended deep and in numbers, desperate not to concede early while Lyon had plenty of possession. They moved the ball around crisply and Bastos tested Jose Reina from 20 yards while the giant Gomis had Liverpool's keeper stretching again with a 25-yarder.

But Liverpool were searching for a breakthrough of their own, and another Insua cross gave Dirk Kuyt the chance of a clever lob, again Lloris needing to be at his best to touch the ball over the bar.

The French side then lost Anthony Reveillere and Miralem Pjanic to leg injuries with Lamine Gassama and Ederson taking their places.

Liverpool's third decent chance of the half came after a foul on Torres deep in his own half.

Javier Mascherano's quick free-kick cleared Lyon's back line and allowed Voronin a clear run at goal. His shot was low, but again Lloris was up to the task, blocking the effort with his legs.

Agger was booked after 33 minutes for blocking Gomis' run on the halfway line, with Lisandro cautioned for a foul on Kuyt a minute later.

Lyon started the second period with a quicker tempo, and Lisandro hooked over an Aly Cissokho cross. The full-back's next cross saw Bastos head over the far angle.

The match was now unbelievably tense, one mistake could ruin a creditable performance by Liverpool.

And Lyon were increasing the pressure to grab the goal that would put them into the last 16.

As Liverpool pressed forward, the gaps were appearing behind them, and Gomis looked increasingly dangerous.

Liverpool's first change came after 67 minutes when Babel replaced Voronin, Torres being left on this time.

Then Lloris made yet another stunning save, turning away Lucas' effort with his left hand with Kuyt following up with an overhead shot that was kicked off the line.

Lyon brought on Govou for Gomis, before Reina had to make his first serious save of the night, blocking Lisandro from close range.

Lisandro got away again after 78 minutes, turning Agger and then firing a curling shot just wide of the far post with Liverpool now playing with four men up front.

Torres' misplaced header gave Bastos another chance to run at Liverpool's defence, his shot being deflected for a corner.

But Liverpool broke from defence after a painful bout of head tennis to get the ball away and grabbed a sensational goal after 83 minutes.

Yossi Benayoun spun the ball out to the left for Babel, who cut inside to unleash a thunderous drive into the top corner from 30 yards, before being engulfed by his team-mates.

Three minutes from the end Torres was finally taken off, David Ngog taking over up front.

But with just seconds left, Liverpool's dream crashed. Lisandro got past Insua in the box and lifted his shot over Reina for the equaliser.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific