Depay on target as Lyon beat Benfica
Memphis Depay scored again as Olympique Lyonnais won 3-1 against SL Benfica on Tuesday to give their ambitions of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout stages a real shot in the arm.
Tuesday, 5 November, 2019
UEFA Champions League
Group G, Groupama Stadium
Olympique Lyonnais 3-1 SL Benfica
With RB Leipzig having sealed a 2-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia even before kick-off, Lyon knew a win would take them above Zenit and into second place in Group G.
A disappointing 2-1 defeat in Lisbon when the sides met a fortnight ago served as further motivation for Rudi Garcia's men, who had won their last two league games, their first successes under their new boss.
It did not take long for them to build momentum. A corner was played out to captain Léo Dubois, and his cross was bulletted home by Joachim Andersen for his first OL goal since his summer move from Sampdoria (4').
Benfica, who had won their three most recent games without conceding a goal, took some time to recover from the blow, and only mustered their first threat after the half-hour mark when Grimaldo fired over the bar (32').
Depay on fire
But the Portuguese side only served to provoke Lyon, and within 60 seconds, the hosts had a second goal. Memphis Depay fired home his fourth goal in as many games in the competition, but he owed everything to a brilliant run down the left by Houssem Aouar, who provided the cross for the in-form Netherlands international (33').
Anthony Lopes had suffered a minor ankle injury in the warm-up, but was able to move smartly enough when Chiquinho sent a powerful drive goalwards from the edge of the area in the dying seconds of the half (45+4').
A thigh injury meant Depay was replaced by Maxwel Cornet at the break, which meant the hosts were less incisive. Another half-time substitute, Haris Seferovic, brought another save from Lopes (57'), and then pulled one back after chesting down and firing beyond Lopes (78').
It was not until Bertrand Traoré fired home a minute from time that OL could be sure of going three points clear of Zenit, whom will be their opponents on Matchday 5 when a victory will take Garcia's men through.
THE PLAYER: Houssem Aouar
The France U21 international has been good in recent weeks, but he took his performance up a level here. His double-acceleration to set up the second goal was breathtaking, and he gave the Benfica right-back Tomas Tavares a tough evening.
THE STAT: 2
Depay is the second Lyon player to score in four successive Champions League games after Sonny Anderson in October 2002.