There was nothing to separate Olympique Lyonnais and FC Lorient on Saturday evening, Karl Toko Ekamba scoring to cancel out Armand Laurienté's opener despite OL having gone down to 10 men.
Olympique Lyonnais 1-1 FC Lorient
European qualification and top-flight survival might have been the relative aims of Lyon and Lorient at the start of the season, but les Gones welcomes les Merlus to the Groupama stadium with a point to and place to make up on their visitors in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats table. Their task was made significantly more complicated with a quarter of an hour on the clock when left-back Emerson was given his marching orders for a contact on Enzo Le Fée which referee Bastien Dechepy deemed dangerous (15'). Lorient took full advantage minutes later when Laurienté's belated free-kick left Anthony Lopes with no chance (20'). Lucas Paqueta had the best chance to get Lyon back onto level terms at the end of the half when Xherdan Shaqiri found the Brazilian with a brilliant pass, but Paul Nardi pulled off an excellent save (45'+1) and it was 1-0 at the break.
OL draw level
The second half was barely five minutes old when that changed, though. Islam Slimani - who had replaced Shaqiri at half-time - slipped Toko Ekambi through for a chance which the Cameroonian duly took with aplomb, fending off Houboulang Mendes and steering the ball beyond Nardi (51'). Bruno Guimaraes then had a thumping shot from range which flew narrowly wide of Nardi's top corner (58'). Both teams looked for a winner - particularly admirable on Lyon's part given their numerical disadvantage. The visitors who came close to finding it when Igor Silva forced a good save from Lopes (84'), before Paqueta missed a gilt-edged chance 89') and it ended 1-1.
THE PLAYER: Karl Toko Ekambi
Four-goal striker Moussa Dembélé was recently ruled out for at least a month with a fractured fibula picked up in Wednesday's 3-1 win over ESTAC Troyes. The former Celtic and France under-21 striker leaves big boots to fill, and Toko Ekambi's preferred position in recent seasons has been on the right of a front three, but if he can keep playing like he did tonight, Lyon needn't worry too much about where their goals will come from.
THE STAT: 20
Lorient remain without an away win in 20 attempts in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. The last time les Merlus picked up all three points on the road was back in October 2020 when Pierre-Yves Hamel, Yoane Wissa and Terem Moffi scored in a 3-1 win over Stade de Reims at the Stade Auguste Delaune.