Lyon frustrated on Garcia debut
Rudi Garcia's first game in charge of Olympique Lyonnais ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Dijon FCO at the Groupama Stadium on Saturday.
Olympique Lyonnais 0 - 0 Dijon FCO
Appointed on Monday on a contract until the end of next season as the successor to the sacked Sylvinho, Garcia's first match at the helm was against one of his former clubs. However, it is his recent relationship with Olympique de Marseille that has made his appointment unpalatable to many Lyon fans, and he was not given the warmest of welcomes into the dugout for his debut.
There were jeers at the end too, after OL slumped to an eighth consecutive Ligue 1 Conforama match without a win. Not that they were lacking for chances, but they were let down by a combination of poor finishing and some inspired goalkeeping by Dijon's Alfred Gomis.
Garcia made four changes to Sylvinho's last line-up for the 1-0 derby defeat at the hands of AS Saint-Etienne a fortnight ago, with Léo Dubois and Memphis Depay both sidelined. Moussa Dembélé earned a recall as Jason Denayer, Kenny Tete and Maxwel Cornet also came into the side. Forward Rayan Cherki, who only turned 16 in August, came on for his senior debut as a late substitute.
Dembélé played a prominent role as Lyon enjoyed 24 attempts on goal in total, although he was not as prominent as Gomis. The Dijon goalkeeper first excelled himself with a save low down at his near post to deny Dembélé as the striker met a Marçal cross, while the visitors also threatened at the other end in the first half when a deflected long-range effort by Stephy Mavididi was tipped over by Anthony Lopes.
OL turned up the pressure in the second half but time and again they were frustrated by Gomis, who kept out a Dembélé attempt that was deflected by Bruno Ecuele Manga. He then produced a fine double save to deny Cornet and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde and also stopped a Houssem Aouar effort as Dijon escaped with a point.
It is just one defeat in six games now for Dijon and their coach Stéphane Jobard, who once played under Garcia at the Burgundy club. They are just a point behind Lyon, with both teams still languishing in the lower reaches of the table after 10 games.
THE PLAYER: Alfred Gomis
That Lyon failed to win on Garcia's début was largely down to Gomis, with the Senegal international stopping everything that came his way. This was his second straight clean sheet, and his third in four games.
THE STAT: 8
Lyon have now gone eight top-flight games without a win, taking just four points from the last 24 available. It is their worst run since Jean-Michel Aulas became club president in 1987. Indeed, it is their worst run since an eight-game streak in 1977.