Champions League: Lyon drub Fenerbahce

4th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Nov 3 (AFP) - Brazilian midfielder Nilmar conjured up some late magic to qualify French champions Lyon for the knockout phase of the Champions League after a dramatic 4-2 win over Turkish champions Fenerbahce here on Wednesday.

LYON, France, Nov 3 (AFP) - Brazilian midfielder Nilmar conjured up some late magic to qualify French champions Lyon for the knockout phase of the Champions League after a dramatic 4-2 win over Turkish champions Fenerbahce here on Wednesday.

Lyon needed to win to become the first club from Group D to qualify and were on course to do so before a late injury to keeper Gregory Coupet, and his subsequent replacement, preceded a late equaliser for the visitors.

Sanli Tuncay was the foe for the hosts on the night, the Turkish playmaker toe-poking a header from defender Fabio Luciano high into the Lyon net to beat Lyon's number two keeper Nicolas Puydebois in the 73rd minute.

However in a dramatic closing period with the visitors reduced to 10 men after Cetin Servet was sent-off for a second bookable offence, Nilmar struck twice to bring Lyon back from the brink to practically opening up the champagne bottles.

Lyon coach Paul Le Guen was ecstatic at his side's achievement.

"There was a lot of heart and determination in that performance," the former Paris Saint Germain central defender said.

"It was difficult but it is a hell of an achievement to qualify for the Champions League after four matches," added Le Guen. who won the 1996 Cup Winners Cup as a player with PSG.

Lyon dominated and should have wrapped up the match after goals from midfielder Mickael Essien and Florent Malouda had helped give them the lead after Sahin Selcuk's fortunate opener.

Selcuk picked up a clearance from Lyon defender Eric Abidal and tried his luck with an innocuous 25-yard shot which hit Brazilian defender Cris on its way towards beating Coupet in the Lyon goal.

Before then Tuncay showed a hint of his talent when he chested down a high ball on the edge of the area and hit a low volley which had Coupet scrambling to assure himself it was going past his post.

But Lyon's equaliser came almost immediately.

After some wobbly defending in the 22nd minute Ghanaian midfielder Mickael Essien pounced on a loose bouncing ball in the visitors' area to beat Recber Rustu from 20 metres.

Tuncay replied by bearing down on the Lyon goal and unleashing a long-range drive which forced Coupet to jump and tip the ball over the crossbar. Up to the half time whistle however it was all Lyon.

First an unmarked Malouda missed what should have been an easy close-range header past Rustu after great build up by Pierre-Alain Frau on the left wing.

Juninho then hit the crossbar with a swerving free kick, and a Frau header from an Abidal cross moments later looked dangerous.

Seconds before the interval Rustu did well to punch away a goalbound drive from Frau on the right.

The second half started off in quieter fashion, but after only eight minutes Malouda finally converted one of his numerous chances.

The Frenchman certainly didn't do his chances of an international call-up any harm when he beat Fenerbahce's deep off-side trap to convert Frau's inch perfect right wing cross from three yards out.

Malouda came close to getting his second of the night just after the hour mark when he collected the ball on the left, sidestepped a defender and tested Rustu with a fierce drive which flew inches over the bar.

Moments later Coupet was left on the field in agony following a clash with a Fenerbahce boot which left him requiring treatment.

Obviously in agony as he jumped for a high ball minutes later, Coupet was finally replaced by Nicolas Puydebois.

The club's second keeper however had a rude introduction, conceding their second goal of the night straight away.

Big defender Luciano rose high to nod down a corner from the right and just as Puydebois prepared to collect, Tuncay stuck out his right foot to direct the ball high into the net for the equaliser.

Moments later the visitors were reduced to ten men when Servet picked up his second caution for a foul on Nilmar.

The Brazilian would get up to show that for him the match was far from over, first heading home a free kick from Juninho in injury time to give them the lead before heading home his second of the night to seal a dramatic victory.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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