Lyon smash PSG resistance
Ligue 1's Matchday 12 finishes with goal feast as Lyon overcome a spirited PSG side in the capital to extend their lead at the top of the table, Sydeny Govou's goal the clincher.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Parc des Princes
Pauleta 60, 90
Ben Arfa 40, 42, Govou 84
A late Sydney Govou goal handed Lyon all three points in a fascinating encounter in the French capital on Sunday evening, the league leaders standing firm to an impressive PSG second-half comeback. After two pinpoint strikes from Hatem Ben Arfa in the first period, PSG looked dead and buried. But with the second-half sending-off of Cleber Anderson, the home team nearly completed an unlikely revival thanks mainly to the presence of Pauleta who, with two second-half goals, came close to snatching a point for Paul Le Guen's side.
In a pulsating first-half Lyon achieved a two goal lead thanks to the pace and youthful exuberance of the champions' front pairing of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa. The most exciting attacking duo in France have been hitting the net for both club and country with abandon all season and in Benzema Lyon possess Europe's deadliest striker, the 20-year-old with 11 goals in as many games to his name.
Youth was the talking point of the evening with PSG manager Paul Le Guen deciding to hand the captain's armband to 17-year-old defender Mamadou Sakho. Sporting an extravagant mohican the youngster was charged with organising the home side defence and after just five minutes, the teenager's capabilities were immediatley called into action when Mathieu Bodmer rose in space to head into the arms of a nervous Landreau.
At the other end Granddi Ngoyi, another of PSG's young battalion at 19 years of age, headed narrowly wide before Mario Yepes unleashed a powerhouse of an effort from 30 yards which veered just wide.
The tone was set for the rest of the match as both sides looked to attack. It was Lyon though who possessed another gear and, spurred on by their young strike force, began to pick holes in the home defence. First Benzema, showing great skill, arrowed his way through the PSG midfield before sliding a shot agonisingly wide of Landreau's post. The chance lit the touch paper and following a poor clearance from Marcos Ceara, Ben Arfa struck wonderfully beyond Landreau for 1-0. It was a fine finish but better was to follow.
Just four minutes later the youngster doubled his tally but it was Benzema's contribution which caught the eye. Picking up the ball in own-half the league's top scorer drove forward scything through defenders with ease before forcing the PSG guardian to acrobatically palm away his shot. Landreau could do nothing though as the ball fell into the path of Ben Arfa who provided his team's second with an even better first-time strike than his previous effort.
The second-half began in as exciting circumstances with Ben Arfa handed the chance in front of Landreau to seal his hat-trick. Unusually though the youngster dallied and by the time he had re-set himself, the opportunity had faded. Anderson then saw red for a foul on Diane, a decision which ignited PSG's belief in themselves.
On as a substitute, club top scorer Pauleta dragged the capital side into the game with a miscued attempt at the back post which looped over the top of Bodmer, the tallest man on the pitch, and past Vercoutre.
The PSG rally though didn't last long and Lyon put the match beyond reach when Govou slid in a Clerc cross after a some patient build-up on 84 minutes. But as the Parc des Princes began to empty up popped their home side's veteran Portuguese striker to volley in a deserved consolation.
The win puts Lyon's lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table to four points while for PSG, another loss, their fourth of the season, sees them drop down to 15th, two points off the relegation zone.