Lyon triumph in Choc des Olympiques to keep Champions League hopes alive


Memphis De Pay. Picture credit Reuters

As the referee brandished a late yellow card towards Memphis Depay for his deemed excessive celebration, the Dutchman couldn’t quite care about his booking. After coming on from the bench in the second half, Depay had just headed home Lyon’s winner in the derby at Marseille. Bragging rights were secured, and just as importantly, Les Gones were back in contention for a Champions League spot.

That was the aim at the start of the night, a night which Marseille began on the front foot. Dimitri Payet flashed a shot over Lyon’s goal, while at the other end Bertrand Traore tested the fingertips of Steve Mandanda following a wonderful run.

It would be Marseille who struck first, Payet’s free-kick, headed on by Adil Rami and turned home, between the legs of Anthony Lopes, by Rolando. Now Marseille had a lead to protect, and Mandanda did well to protect it, pushing Maxwell Cornet’s shot onto the post with his fingertips.

But Mandanda could do nothing towards halftime, as Rami and Rolando, the centre-halves who combined for Marseille’s opener, didn’t have a moment they,ll look back on with pride. Rolando was beaten to the ball by Traore, and from the resulting cross, Gotoku Sakai’s miscued clearance was diverted in by Rami, to ensure Lyon would go into the break on level terms.

And 10 minutes after the break, Lyon would complete the turnaround, Hassem Aouar curling a low shot into Mandanda’s bottom corner, putting Bruno Genesio’s side in front for the first time on the night and stunning the Velodrome into silence.

Memphis De Pay.
Picture credit Reuters

Lyon were ahead and on top, and once again Mandanda had to deny Traore, to keep it at 2-1. Marseille manager Rudi Garcia rang the changes, Kostas Mitroglou replacing Valerie Germain, and it was the Greek sub who popped up with the leveller six minutes from time. After Payet’s attempted pass was deflected by Jeremy Morel, Mitroglou rose to head past Lopes.

It looked like Lyon had thrown away their chance for victory, but as the clock ticked over 90 minutes, Lopes sent a long free-kick forward, Mariano Diaz headed on, and Depay headed in, for a priceless 3-2 win.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain also had to come from behind, away at Nice. Despite falling behind to Alassane Plea’s early goal, Angel Di Maria restored parity for the league leaders, before Dani Alves grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Monaco extended their unbeaten run in the league to 15 games with a win over relegation-threatened Lille, while Montpellier and Dijon shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Karl Toko Ekambi grabbed his 16th goal of the season in Angers’ comfortable win over Caen, Nantes could only draw at bottom-club Metz, and Bordeaux suffered a home loss at the hands of Rennes.

Marseille 2-3 Lyon
Nice 1-2 PSG
Bordeaux 0-2 Rennes
Amiens 1-1 Troyes
Monaco 2-1 Lille
Toulouse 2-2 Strasbourg
Montpellier 2-2 Dijon
Metz 1-1 Nantes
St. Etienne 2-0 Guingamp
Angers 3-0 Caen

About Olakunle Ajao 287 Articles
Olakunle Ajao is a Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos. Commonly known as 'The Major' by friends and fiends alike, he has quite the obsession with football, watching, reading, writing and playing- although he's not very good at that last part.

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