Ludovic Ajorque scored two goals in two minutes as RC Strasbourg Alsace fought back to hold Olympique Lyonnais to a 2-2 draw at the Stade de la Meinau on Saturday.
RC Strasbourg Alsace 2 - 2 Olympique Lyonnais
Lyon looked set for a comfortable win ahead of their UEFA Champions League last 16, second leg in Barcelona after a Moussa Dembélé brace had them in control in Alsace, but they were left stunned as Ajorque's quick-fire double in the second half allowed the hosts to grab a point.
Bruno Genesio's decision to leave a host of key players on the bench at kick-off ultimately failed to pay off, with Nabil Fekir and Bertrand Traoré both sent on in the latter stages as they chased a winner. Memphis Depay and Tanguy Ndombele were both unused substitutes, but more worrying was the loss of Marcelo to injury. The Brazilian defender, wearing the captain's armband, was taken off early on with an apparent hamstring problem that must make him a doubt for Barcelona.
Lyon were already in front by the time they lost Marcelo, as they took the lead inside three minutes. Lamine Koné's short back-pass was pounced upon by Martin Terrier, and when his shot was saved by Matz Sels, Maxwel Cornet set up Dembélé to bundle the ball in.
Tete emergency centre-back
The visitors were forced to use Kenny Tete in central defence after Marcelo went off, but they were rarely troubled at the back in the first half. Indeed, only good saves by Sels from Pape Cheikh Diop, Ferland Mendy and Cornet kept the score down at the break, as well as Dembélé's inability hit the target after being set up by Mendy (33').
Dembélé was on target again not long after the restart though. Koné's nightmare afternoon continued when he was nutmegged in the box by Houssem Aouar and then brought down the Lyon player. Dembélé duly dispatched the resulting penalty for his 15th goal in all competitions this season.
Strasbourg seemed dead and buried, and Lyon could have finished them off midway through the second half as Dembélé was sent clear only to see his shot saved by Sels. After surviving that, the hosts were handed a lifeline in the 69th minute as Adrien Thomasson headed Anthony Caci's cross towards goal, and the ball was diverted into the net by Ajorque.
Barely a minute later, that duo combined again, Thomasson releasing Ajorque to blast a low shot past Anthony Lopes and make it 2-2 (70').
THE PLAYER: Moussa Dembélé
The striker's form will be a source of real encouragement to Lyon fans ahead of the game in Barcelona. He now has 15 goals in all competitions since joining from Celtic in August, including 11 in Ligue 1 Conforama. He has scored braces in back-to-back games, having also netted twice in OL's 5-1 win over Toulouse FC last weekend.
THE STAT: 38
Strasbourg stayed up with 38 points last season, reaching that tally by beating Lyon 3-2 at home on the penultimate weekend of the campaign. Their point here means they have reached that same tally with 10 matches remaining. Safety is surely in the bag and Thierry Laurey's team can look forward to the Coupe de la Ligue final against EA Guingamp at the end of the month.