Zlatan Ibrahimovic dispatched a controversial penalty to earn a valiant 1-1 draw away to Olympique Lyonnais this evening. The Swede initially missed the spot-kick but was ordered to retake after some of the OL players entered the 18-yard box before he struck. The number 10 made no mistake second time around to net what is a vital goal in the title race!
Defeat would have set us back five points. The draw means it remains at two. However, despite it being a terrific result we can consider ourselves slightly disappointed not to have obtained all three. We were the better team but we were up against an inspired Anthony Lopes in goal who thwarted Zlatan and Edinson Cavani on a number of occasions.
The team pretty much picked itself before kick-off. Marquinhos continued at right-back ahead of Gregory Van der Wiel and impressed once more. Lucas Moura had a quiet game by his standards just ahead of him but Cavani on the opposite side will be scratching his head at how he didn’t score at least once tonight.
El Matador was denied in the first-half by Lopes who sprawled himself from close range to deny his left-footed shot. This all came about after Maxime Gonalons gave the ball away, Ibra broke and cleverly threaded the ball through for his team mate to shoot.
Moments before that, Corentin Tolisso rattled the foot of the post with a spectacular long distance strike that had Salvatore Sirigu scrambling.
David Luiz should have put us into the lead but his free header was put wide after Cavani did well to flick on a corner at the near post. The Brazilian just got his angles wrong and immediately put his head in his hands.
That miss would come back to haunt us because just under 10 minutes later, Les Gones took the lead via Clinton N’Jie. Stepping in for the injured Alexandre Lacazette, the Cameroonian finished with aplomb. He nodded the ball down in the box for Nabil Fekir who returned it with a cute pass which took three PSG defenders out of the equation and the 21-year-old was there to finish.
We did respond well by dominating the possession but we were lacking clear cut chances. Apparently, Laurent Blanc had some strong words to say to his players at half-time according to Blaise Matuidi.
Well, it must have worked because we dominated the second-half. Anthony Lopes though in the Lyon goal put on an unbelievable performance. He denied two headers from Zlatan that looked to be certain goals. Then a shot at the near-post from Cavani. But, most importantly a vital one on one block to deny the Uruguayan as he bore in towards goal. An unbelievable performance from the Portuguese stopper.
We huffed and puffed! And thankfully we got a break as Marco Verratti was brought down by Lindsay Rose. Ibra stepped up, but missed! Lopes again to the rescue but from a Lyon perspective there was uproar as Clement Turpin ordered for a retake. The striker made no mistake second time around by smashing the ball into the top corner.
Blanc was happy with the point and that was evident when he brought Cavani off for Yohan Cabaye. I can understand that but at the same time he may have missed a trick because the hosts were there for the taking. A bit more intent from us in the final 20 minutes, we could have sneaked it. Still, it is a good result against a vibrant young side that will get better as they mature.
We can be pleased this evening!