Lyon hopes in balance after Zenit defeat
Olympique Lyonnais suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia on Wednesday, a result that compromises their hopes of advancing to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
UEFA Champions League Group G
FC Zenit Saint-Petersburg 2 - 0 Olympique Lyonnais
Already without Memphis Depay, Houssem Aouar and Thiago Mendes due to injury for this key Group G encounter in Russia, Lyon were dealt a further blow not long before kick-off as Martin Terrier was also declared unfit. That meant Bertrand Traoré and Maxwel Cornet started either side of Moussa Dembélé in attack for the visitors, but they could not break down the Zenit defence.
The hosts had already seen Sardar Azmoun hit the post before they went in front as half-time approached. Douglas Santos sent in a corner and powerful Russian international striker Artem Dzyuba held off Marcelo to head home (42').
Lyon continued to struggle to create chances and even when they did, Dembélé sent his header wide from an excellent position on the hour mark. With time running out, Lyon coach Rudi Garcia took off a central defender in Joachim Andersen and sent on an extra attacking player in youngster Rayan Cherki, but Zenit hit them with a sucker punch as they made it 2-0 late on.
Marcelo's poor clearance gave Aleksandr Erokhin a second chance to cross from the right. This time he found fellow substitute Yuri Zhirkov, whose lay-off was swept home first-time by Magomed Ozdoev with the aid of a big deflection off Marcelo which beat Anthony Lopes.
The result means that Lyon - who could have secured qualification for the last 16 with a win - now drop to third place in the group. They are level on seven points with Zenit, but the Russians have the better head-to-head record. Their hopes of advancing to the knockout phase for the second season running are now very much in the balance heading into their final group game at home to RB Leipzig next month.
THE PLAYER: Moussa Dembélé
There was extra pressure on Dembélé to deliver here with several key players absent, not least Depay. But while the former Celtic striker is the leading scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 10 goals, he drew another blank here and remains without a goal in this season’s Champions League.
THE STAT: 0
The number of goals Dembélé has scored in the Champions League this season. Artem Dzyuba showed him how it can be done here with a classic centre-forward's goal.