There will be no invincible season for Paris Saint-Germain. Olympique Lyonnais quashed that with a deserved 2-1 victory at their new home tonight to propel their Champions League aspirations and leave us licking our wounds. Goals from Maxwel Cornet and Sergi Darder in the first-half are what did it despite an early strike after the interval from Lucas Moura.
We can have no complaints. The better team won on the night as we were haggled and pressed for the vast majority of the game. Les Gones made it not only a battle but they were dangerous every single time they hit us on the counter-attack. Cornet was a thorn in our side.
We desperately missed Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi and Angel di Maria. Little Marco was out injured whilst big bad Blaise started on the bench but did come on for the last 10 minutes or so. Two Frenchmen in Adrien Rabiot and Benjamin Stambouli replaced them as Edinson Cavani came in for the missing ADM.
This was a real baptism of fire in our first visit to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. The fans made it a hostile environment and it certainly rubbed off on the men in white. Straight from the get go they were the quicker, more domineering side. For all our possession there was little substance.
The opening goal from Cornet was beautifully done, as he was too quick for Gregory Van der Wiel to open the space and finished with a curling effort that gave Kevin Trapp no chance.
We have a lot to thank the big German for because if it wasn’t for him we may have lost by a greater margin. The number 16 pulled off a number of vital saves to keep us in it to the bitter end.
We were so lacklustre in attack and Di Maria’s absence was evident. It took us 35 minutes to register a shot on target that came from a central defender in Thiago Silva.
On the stroke of half-time, the skipper had a moment he’d like to forget as Dardel produced a stunning piece of skill to lift the ball over his head before finishing with aplomb past Trapp. The ball in by Rafael was not dealt with by Maxwell but the subsequent touch from the Spaniard to loop it over the centre-back was marvellous. The finish was not bad either.
That sent the hosts into the break with their tails up. Laurent Blanc introduced Javier Pastore who did more in five minutes than most in blue on the night. The Argentine was key in the goal from Lucas to put us back in it. El Flaco not only won the ball in midfield but his tenacity to try and make something happen in the box allowed the ball to come to Moura who produced a gorgeous curling effort that had Anthony Lopes scrambling.
You thought from then on we’d heap the pressure on. But, despite one or two openings we created very little. Lyon could have made it 3-1 had it not been for Trapp. Rachid Ghezzal was outstanding all game but even he could not believe it when he was denied by the German in goal when he had the target at his mercy.
We looked defeated in the final 10 minutes. For all our possession, there was no intent in the final third. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put the ball in the net but was ruled out for offside. It was a close call – the ball from Cavani perhaps could have been timed better, maybe even Ibra’s run – but that was as close as we got to making it 2-2.
As the whistle blew for full time the stadium erupted. It is a monumental win for Lyon who are now in third place, looking to book their place in next season’s Champions League.
As for us, it is a first league defeat of the season but how can we be disgruntled in any shape or form? Yes, it is disappointing. We were not at the races. Yet look at what this team has achieved. To go 36 league games unbeaten for 11 months is absolutely sensational. The lads could not have done anymore. We were purely and simply beaten by the better team on the night.