Lyon deliver message to Real with Nancy stroll
Paris: Lyon gave themselves the perfect morale boost for next Tuesday’s Champions League home clash with Real Madrid on Friday as they eased to a 4-0 victory over Nancy.
However, while goals from Yoann Gourcuff, Jeremy Pied, Miralem Pjanic and the outstanding Jimmy Briand saw them move into provisional second in the league four points behind Lille, who along with the other title contenders play at the weekend, they suffered a major injury blow.
Argentinian star Lisandro Lopez is a doubt for the Real match as he suffered a thigh injury in Thursday training, though the club denied several reports that he had done it in kicking a ball in anger at being told he would not start against Nancy.
“He (Lisandro) has a slightly pulled thigh muscle,” said Lyon coach Claude Puel.
“He was unable to play here and his ability to play in Tuesday’s match is seriously in doubt.”
Lyon went into the break 1-0 up thanks to Gourcuff’s strike, a super volley from Jeremy Toulalan’s pass which gave Nancy goalkeeper Damien Gregorini no chance.
Gourcuff was a relieved man as earlier in the half he had missed an open goal when he was unselfishly set up by Briand, but with the goal unguarded he sent his shot wide.
Nancy, though, should have been on level terms at half-time but veteran Moroccan Youssouf Hadji overplayed his penalty taking routine and Lyon ‘keeper Remy Vercoutre, who had been called-up as Hugo Lloris was ill, easily saved to make up for being penalised for bringing down Hadji.
Lyon came out in stirring fashion in the second-half looking to wrap up the match as quickly as possible and were denied a second from Bafetembi Gomis in the 51st minute as referee Olivier Thual said he had not blown the whistle to take the freekick which led to the goal.
Gourcuff was booked for protesting too strongly but the incident didn’t appear to distract Lyon, and they were again close to adding to their advantage in the 56th minute but Gregorini managed to tip Briand’s effort onto the post, and much to his relief though the ball then rolled along the line he was able to gather it.
However, the host got a deserved second 20 minutes later as Pied headed home Brazilian star Michel Bastos’s cross and Pjanic ensured the three points six minutes after replacing Gourcuff.
The Serbian playmaker rounded off a fine move which had seen the ever industrious Toulalan regain possession inside his half, then find Briand, whose pass set up Pjanic and he planted a delightfully directed shot past a static Gregorini into the far corner.
Briand then deservedly got a goal of his own and a memorable one at that with a stunning overhead kick that rocketed into the top of the goal and had Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas doing high fives with his friends in the stands.
“We had to be fully focussed for this match,” said Puel.
“We didn’t play within ourselves this evening and that was what was necessary.
“The win was both beautiful and interesting.”