The rivalry between Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille has intensified over the last decade, but none of their fiery recent meetings have managed to match the astonishing drama of their 5-5 draw at the Stade de Gerland in November 2009.
In the years immediately before the Qatari takeover of Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon were on the decline but remained the biggest scalp in France. After seven straight titles, OL had missed out to Girondins de Bordeaux in 2009 but Claude Puel oversaw a major recruitment drive ahead of the 2009-10 campaign as Lyon sought to reclaim the crown. They invested huge sums in the likes of Lisandro López, Bafétimbi Gomis and Aly Cissokho and came into this Week 13 encounter in second place, two points behind leaders Bordeaux. A late Gomis goal had given them a 1-0 win at derby rivals AS Saint-Etienne a week earlier, before Lisandro’s last-minute goal secured a 1-1 Champions League draw at home to Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Marseille were hoping this would be their year for a first league title since 1993 after finishing runners-up to Bordeaux in the previous campaign. Didier Deschamps had come in as coach and OM were third in the table going into their trip to Lyon, two points behind their opponents. Their last league game was a 1-1 draw at home to Toulouse but in midweek they had hammered FC Zürich 6-1 in the Champions League.
Lyon got off to the perfect start, taking the lead three minutes in when Miralem Pjanic controlled a knock-down on the edge of the area before acrobatically volleying home. That lead did not last long, as Souleymane Diawara headed in a Fabrice Abriel corner to make it 1-1 in the 11th minute. However, Lyon regained the lead just three minutes after that when Sidney Govou picked up the ball just inside his own half, set off on a slaloming run and finished past Steve Mandanda from 16 yards.
It looked like OL would hold that lead into the interval, but Marseille equalised for a second time in the 44th minute as Benoît Cheyrou’s long-range strike was fumbled into his own net by Hugo Lloris. The hosts were clearly still reeling from that as Marseille took the lead two minutes into the second half. Abriel’s ball into the box from the left was prodded home first-time on the half-volley by Bakari Koné.
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The pendulum had swung Marseille’s way and they appeared to have the points wrapped up when they went 4-2 up in the 74th minute, Brandão stealing in front of his fellow Brazilian Michel Bastos, on as a substitute, to score at a corner. However, Lyon had been developing a habit of scoring late goals and they pulled one back with 10 minutes left as Lisandro held off Vitorino Hilton and beat Mandanda. Soon after they were level, Lisandro converting a penalty after his fellow Argentine Gabriel Heinze had been penalised for handball.
Now Lyon had the momentum, and they looked to have won it when they went 5-4 up in the first minute of injury time. Gomis released Pjanic, and he squared for Bastos to score. Yet, incredibly, that was not the end of the scoring, as Marseille snatched a draw in the 92nd minute, Jérémy Toulalan turning the ball into his own net in a goalmouth scramble.
WHAT THEY SAID
“We lost two points. If we have to score six goals to win a game, especially away, it's going to be tough.” - Deschamps
"When we scored the fifth goal in the last minute, we thought it was over. But we're happy with the draw because losing 4-2 with 10 minutes to go was a tough situation. It was a fair result anyway. It was entertaining. It's important for football matches to be a little crazy sometimes.” - Lyon midfielder Kim Källström
“Scoring five goals and only getting a point is a bit annoying.” - Abriel.
WHAT CAME NEXT
Following this, Lyon won just one of their last seven Ligue 1 games before the winter break, with that a 2-0 success at home to struggling US Boulogne. Meanwhile, Marseille beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 the following weekend with a Heinze goal. OM also beat OL 2-1 in the reverse meeting of the sides in March 2010 as they went on to win the title by six points from Lyon, who sought solace in their run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.