Lyons in bullish mood after victory in battle of France
Thursday 01 April 2010
Lyons reminded Bordeaux that they were still alive and the rest of Europe that they could still be a threat in the Champions League with their victory in a thrilling first leg of the all-French quarter-final on Tuesday night.
With many eyes focused on the more glamorous clash between Bayern Munich and Manchester United the French teams offered an exciting, free-flowing contest on the Stade Gerland pitch.
Lyons won 3-1 courtesy of two goals from the Argentine Lisandro Lopez but also thanks to shaky defending by the visitors and great saves from the France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, taking a clear advantage into the second leg in Bordeaux next week.
There was plenty at stake for Lyons, who had won seven Ligue 1 titles in succession before surrendering their crown to Bordeaux last year, and they used the match to show their rivals they could still teach them a thing or two.
"It was a spectacular game with a good result for Lyons," the club's president Jean-Michel Aulas – whose side stunned Real Madrid in the previous round – said. "It was really a high quality match with both sides looking for a knockout and plenty of goals."
Aulas, who has turned Lyons from a sleepy provincial outfit into the measure of all things football in France, thought the second leg would be equally as exciting. "We will go to Bordeaux to score," he added. "We could witness another great match there as well."
While shining in Europe, Bordeaux have slowed down significantly in domestic action since the start of the year. Although they still top the standings with two games in hand, they now have several sides breathing hard down their necks, among them Lyons.
Ironically, they played better on Tuesday than they had for a while but Lyons' greater experience made the difference. There is also a question mark over Bordeaux's ability to handle big matches, already raised when they lost 3-1 to Marseilles in the French League Cup final on Saturday.
"It's a long time since I've seen Bordeaux play that well," their coach Laurent Blanc said. "But we were too nervous at the back and that was the problem. We're a young team. We still need to gain experience."
Blanc can take encouragement from the fact that Lyons will miss Lisandro and fellow forward Sidney Govou through suspensions for the return leg.
Bordeaux, meanwhile, will welcome back their captain and holding midfielder Alou Diarra, who was absent through suspension on Tuesday.
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