Ajax sweep Lyon aside
Olympique Lyonnais have their work cut out to reach the UEFA Europa League final after suffering a 4-1 semi-final first-leg defeat at Ajax on Wednesday.
Wednesday, 3 May, 2017
UEFA Europa League - Semi-final, first leg
OL might have enjoyed a very different 90 minutes in the Dutch capital had André Onana not brilliantly turned aside Maxwel Cornet's early effort (10'). Instead, the hosts took charge. Bertrand Traoré got a delicate touch on a Hakim Ziyech free-kick, and Anthony Lopes was unable to save his side from going behind (25').
Kasper Dolberg has been one of Ajax's stars en route to the last four, and the Danish prodigy polished up his reputation still further before the break. Lopes' poor clearance dropped at the capable feet of Traoré, who played Dolberg in behind Mouctar Diakhaby — his shot across Lopes was too good for the OL 'keeper (34').
Lopes' talents were required to push away an Amin Younes effort (44') before the break, though the Ajax man would make amends after it. Lucas Tousart's error was punished by Younes, whose shot had the benefit of a kind ricochet off Nicolas Nkoulou to help it past Lopes (49').
Onana denied Nabil Fekir a welcome goal (52') before Mathieu Valbuena gave Bruno Génésio's men some hope ahead of next week's second leg, firing home after a lapse in concentration by Lasse Schöne (67').
Ziyech shot just over by way of riposte (67') before Onana produced a sublime save to halt a Rachid Ghezzal drive (69'). Lopes was powerless to prevent Traoré adding a fourth though (71') and Ajax might have had more as the clock wore down, leaving themselves with a plump cushion to take with them to Parc OL.
THE PLAYER: Bertrand Traoré
Absolutely ran the show.
THE STAT: 16
Ajax had 16 shots on target, a Europa League record for a knockout round game.