Toulouse too good for Lyon
By A. Scott
Olympique Lyonnais' dreadful record away to Toulouse FC continued on Sunday, as Wissam Ben Yedder bagged a brace in a 3-0 win for Alain Casanova's side.
OL came into Week 14 on top of the table, but they had not won, or even scored a goal, on any of their last six visits to Le Stadium since a 1-0 success in November 2005. Here, just like in last season's corresponding fixture, Toulouse claimed a 3-0 win against a tired-looking Lyon side, with Ben Yedder getting the breakthrough after 50 minutes. As the visitors pushed forward in search of an equaliser, he struck again with three minutes remaining to take his tally for the season to nine. And there was still time for Etienne Capoue to put the seal on a welcome win for the home side at the death.
Lyon had been unbeaten in their last five Ligue 1 games, and had only been beaten once in ten in all competitions. They should have been fresh and raring to go, too, after coach Rémi Garde chose to rest several key players for the midweek trip to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Toulouse came into this game on the back of three straight defeats and lay in eighth place at kick-off. Their superb start to the season was becoming little more than a memory.
However, with a whole host of key players back in their starting line-up, including captain Jonathan Zebina, goalkeeper Ali Ahamada, Franck Tabanou and Ben Yedder, TFC appeared by far the hungrier of the two sides, and they utterly dominated the first 45 minutes.
Visiting goalkeeper Rémy Vercoutre had to beat away a powerful Moussa Sissoko strike, before Ben Yedder turned in a Tabanou cross-cum-shot at the back post, only for the offside flag to deny the striker.
While Lyon failed to manage a single shot on target in the first half, Toulouse must have been wondering what they had to do to get the breakthrough. An Etienne Didot shot beat Vercoutre, but was cleared off the line by Mouhamadou Dabo. Then, moments later, Capoue headed a cross from Adrien Regattin off the woodwork. Ben Yedder was then denied by Vercoutre, but Toulouse did eventually get their reward five minutes into the second half.
French international midfielder Sissoko was at his explosive best as he started the move with a typically powerful run forward. He found Tabanou, whose cross from the left was converted by Ben Yedder at the back post. It was the 22 year-old's first goal in a month, and no more than the home side deserved.
Forced to come forward in search of an equaliser, Lyon obviously missed the drive and determination of their captain Lisandro López, who was sidelined with a calf problem. Yoann Gourcuff saw a free-kick held by Ahamada, before Garde opted to throw on Clément Grénier and youngster Clinton Njie in the closing stages. But they could find no way through, and Toulouse went on to double their lead when Ben Yedder latched on to a long ball forward from Serge Aurier before running in on goal and finishing past an exposed Vercoutre.
The striker, who has been one of the revelations of the season so far, then almost completed a hat-trick at the end of a similar move, but after going past Vercoutre, he was unable to get his shot in. Fortunately for Toulouse, Capoue was on hand to slot home his third goal of the campaign. Casanova's men are back up to seventh, and lie just three points behind OL, who must rouse themselves for Wednesday's game in hand away to Marseille.