Friday, 9 November 2012
OL are through to the Europa League knockout stages after a fine win away to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, but a Joey Barton goal direct from a corner was not enough for OM to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach. Bordeaux got the better of CS Marítimo.
Having been called up to the France squad earlier in the day, Bafétimbi Gomis celebrated by giving OL the lead midway through the first half when he edged in front of his marker to turn in a Yoann Gourcuff free-kick from close range.
Last season's runners-up Athletic desperately needed to win this game and they immediately stepped up the pressure in search of an equaliser. However, Rémy Vercoutre made a fine flying save to keep out a first-time Óscar De Marcos effort from the edge of the box, before Anthony Réveillère cleared a Carlos Gurpegi header off the line.
Vercoutre then made a stunning save down low to his right to deny De Marcos, and moments later De Marcos fired over from a brilliant position after a pass from Iker Muniain cut open the Lyon defence. And having survived the onslaught, OL went on to double their lead right on half time when Gourcuff lashed in the loose ball after Gorka Iraizoz had saved from Gomis.
Marcelo Bielsa's side did fight back after the restart, though, and Ander Herrera reduced the arrears following a scramble which left both Milan Bisevac and Vercoutre down injured. By the 55th minute, the Basque outfit were level, Aritz Aduriz netting from the penalty spot after Maxime Gonalons had brought down Herrera in the area.
But Lyon showed great character to hit back and score what proved to be the winning goal just after the hour when Alexandre Lacazette fired a Gueïda Fofana cut-back past Iraizoz from 12 yards.
With Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and Sparta Prague drawing 1-1 in the other Group I encounter, Lyon now know that a point in the Czech capital in two weeks time will seal first place in the section.
Olympique de Marseille 2-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
In a pivotal game in Group C, Marseille thought they had taken an early lead when Loïc Rémy turned the ball goalwards after Mönchengladbach 'keeper Marc-André ter Stegen had flapped at a corner. However, the ball was cleared by a combination of Oscar Wendt and the crossbar, with home fans at the Stade Vélodrome claiming it had already gone over the line.
From thinking they had taken the lead, OM fell behind in the 20th minute. It was not a goal that Benoît Cheyrou will want to see again, with the midfielder being punished for trying to pass the ball out of his own box. Juan Arango intercepted before squaring low for Mike Hanke, who had the easiest of tasks to stab the ball into the net.
Élie Baup's side had to wait until the 54th minute to draw level in an entertaining contest, thanks to a goal that will live long in the memory. Joey Barton somehow found the net direct from a corner, his inswinging delivery looping over ter Stegen and into the net at the back post.
When Jordan Ayew pounced on a failed clearance attempt by visiting captain Roel Brouwers, drove into the box and beat ter Stegen with a powerful rising shot from 17 yards, Marseille looked on course to avenge their 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in Germany a fortnight ago. They had chances to put the game to bed, but Gladbach rescued a draw in the third minute of stoppage time, when a low cross from the right came all the way to Venezuelan winger Arango, who fired past Steve Mandanda with his trusty left foot.
Both sides remain locked on five points with two group games remaining, and OM will probably have to win at home to Fenerbahçe, who are top with ten points, and away to bottom side AEL Limassol if they are to progress to the knockout stages.
After ending a six-match winless run with a 1-0 home win against Toulouse in the Garonne derby at the weekend, Bordeaux took another step in the right direction on Thursday thanks to a victory by the same scoreline at home to Portuguese top-flight side CS Marítimo.
Girondins coach Francis Gillot brought Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Cheick Tidiane Diabaté into his line-up for the game at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, while David Bellion was brought in at the last minute to replace Yoan Gouffran, who pulled up injured in the warm-up. And Bellion turned out to be the hero of the evening, the former Manchester United winger arriving at the near post to head in a Nicolas Maurice-Belay left-wing cross after just 16 minutes and set the Ligue 1 club on their way.
The home side had chances to increase their lead, with Diabaté failing to turn in a Benoît Trémoulinas centre and Lamine Sané heading against the post just before the interval. Marítimo pushed in search of an equaliser after the restart, but Frenchman Valentin Roberge saw a late effort disallowed for offside as Bordeaux held on.
With Newcastle United coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Club Brugge, Les Girondins can seal their place in the next stage of the competition with a draw away to the Belgians in a fortnight's time.