Briand wins derby du Rhône at last for OL
By D. Crossan
Olympique Lyonnais made it six consecutive Ligue 1 derby wins at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard as a 93rd-minute Jimmy Briand header saw OL prevail 2-1.
AS Saint-Etienne 1-2 Olympique Lyonnais
OL are unbeaten in their last 14 Ligue 1 visits to their local rivals and have still not lost at Saint-Etienne since 1994, a sequence which was described pre-match by Les Verts coach Christophe Galtier as "an anomaly". Alexandre Lacazette fired OL into a 48th-minute lead but Saint-Etienne equalised 17 minutes later through Romain Hamouma and looked the more likely side to go on and win the game. Home skipper Loïc Perrin hit the crossbar with a header before Yoann Gourcuff crossed for fellow sub Briand to win the game at the death.
The first half was cagey with François Clerc - three-times a title winner with OL – enjoying the clearest sight of goal as early as the second minute, dragging the shot wide. OL playmaker Clément Grenier, featuring at the apex of a midfield diamond, had the only effort on target of the opening period which was dealt with comfortably by Stéphane Ruffier.
Four minutes into the second half OL, chasing a second straight Ligue 1 win following their 2-0 success over Guingamp in Week 12, went in front through Lacazette, whose sixth goal of the season made this his most prolific Ligue 1 campaign. Henri Bedimo's cross from the left was met with a thunderous header from former Saint-Etienne man Bafétimbi Gomis. Ruffier did well to push it out but Lacazette reacted quicker than Moustapha Bayal and crashed the ball into the roof of the net.
OL goalkeeper Mathieu Gorgelin made his first Ligue 1 start with Anthony Lopes sidelined for several months with a back problem and Rémy Vercoutre fit enough only for the bench after knee surgery. 23-year-old Gorgelin had a number of nervy moments dealing with ASSE's aerial threat as the hosts swung over the crosses.
A deep 65th-minute Faouzi Ghoulam centre from the left bounced off Bedimo and Hamouma conjured up a fantastic overhead kick into the side-netting to join Lacazette on six in the league this season. Brandao headed off target after Gorgelin had missed a Gradel corner but the keeper showed his shot-stopping ability as he kept out a ferocious near-post strike from Ivorian international winger Gradel, on for Yohan Mollo. After OL failed to clear the ensuing corner, Renaud Cohade's precise cross from the right was met by Perrin's forehead and the home captain was exceptionally unlucky to see his effort rebound off the crossbar with Gorgelin rooted to the spot.
Ruffier made a fingertip save from Briand in the 90th minute but could do nothing about the header the forward planted beyond him after Gourcuff had tricked his way past Gradel and sent over a fine cross. Gourcuff had only made his return from a lengthy absence with a hamstring injury in Thursday evening's Europa League game at Rijeka and visiting coach Rémi Garde could be delighted with the impact his substitutes had made.
Victory saw OL leapfrog Saint-Etienne in the table, going seventh to ASSE's ninth on goal difference. OL also arrested a run of four straight away league losses, while Les Verts had conceded in the 93rd minute for the second home game running, following Blaise Matuidi's equaliser for PSG in Week 11.