Genesio leaves OL on a high - just!
Thanks to last-gasp strikes from Maxwel Cornet and Tanguy Ndombele, OL turned things around 3-2 in Nîmes to see outgoing coach Bruno Genesio off on a high. Meanwhile Nîmes finished their promotion season with a top-ten finish.
Nîmes Olympique 2 - 3 Olympique Lyonnais
Already assured of third place after thumping Sm Caen 4-0 in Week 37, OL made sure that outgoing coach Bruno Genesio left the club with a smile on his face with an heroic 3-2 comeback at Nîmes' Stade de la Costière on the final day of the season.
Nîmes have earned a reputation in their promotion season of being a side that gets in their opponents' faces and applies the pressure but it was the visitors who hit first, Cornet converting Memphis Depay's ball on the counter with a low finish across the face of goal (6').
Nîmes hit back
Les Crocodiles didn't take long to fire back, however, with Renaud Ripart also confirming his rich vein of recent form - now five in six matches - to level Denis Bouanga on the club scoring charts with a tap in past OL youth academy 'keeper Mathieu Gorgelin after Florian Miguel had nodded down a smooth long pass from Téji Savanier (11').
At 1-1, the contest grew in intensity, with Bouanga grazing huger post (20') before teammate Paul Bernardoni denied a powerful header from OL stopper Marcelo and Savanier, for many a notable omission from the UNFP Trophies nomination for Ligue 1 Conforama Player of the Season, hit the cross-bar (28').
Then, just on stroke of half-time, Antoni Bobichon eschewed his knack for the spectacular strike as he scored a poacher's goal from point-blank range at the far post. The mood in Nîmes was buoyant as the second half ended but, with the second half proving a more restricted affair than the first before it burst back into life with a minute to go.
Ndombele wins the day
Cutting in from the left, Cornet got the ball onto his right foot and curled it in at Bernardoni's far post (89'). The superb strike put the momentum in Lyon's favour and, with faithful club man Genesio watching on, France international Ndombele capped things off perfectly, hitting his first goal of the season with a deft near-post finish from newly called-up France squad member Léo Dubois' cross (90').
To lose at home like that was certainly not the way David Guion and his Nîmes side would have preferred to end the season, but it cannot detract from the splash they have made in Ligue 1 Conforama as they clinched a top-ten finish (ninth) after a 25-year absence from France's top flight.
THE PLAYER: Maxwel Cornet
The Côte d'Ivoire international confirmed his strong end to the season with a double that paved the way for Ndombele's winner. Twice the 22-year-old found a way to fire past Paul Bernardoni at his far post, first to open the scoring and then to level thing with a minute to go. A stellar performance from the perennial transfer target, who has definitely raised his market value in recent weeks.
Cornet finishes the campaign with seven goals (six of which have been scored in the last five matches) - one shy of his 2015-16 personal best of eight strikes, but with an impressive five assists to boot in 27 appearances (12 starts).
THE STAT: 20
Lyon (third) finished inside the top five for the 20th Ligue 1 Conforama season in a row, having clinched their 22nd consecutive European berth in Week 37. An impressive run that highlights Genesio's achievements at the club since taking the reins from Hubert Fournier in December 2015. Though often the subject of ire from the OL fans, he took the club to a personal-best second place in his debut seasons, before finishes of fourth, third and third in the rest of time with the club.
This season also saw Genesio, who helmed the club to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals in 2017, take OL to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 to cap a campaign that featured a superb win away to Manchester City on Matchday 1 - with Cornet scoring the opener! New boss Sylvinho will certainly have his work cut out for him filling the shoes of humble club man Genesio in season 2019-20.