PSG feel Lyon's late roar
Substitute Bafétimbi Gomis swooped to grab an equaliser five minutes from time as Lyon maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
Sunday 20 September 2009
Paris Saint-Germain / Olympique Lyonnais : 1 - 1
The French international forward, who only emerged from the bench at half-time, fired home with five minutes left at a packed Parc des Princes to stretch OL's streak of invincibility to nine games in all competitions since the campaign opened. That proud record had been in dire danger of being ended by an enterprising and determined PSG side which had gone in front through ex-Lyon man Ludovic Giuly just before the half-hour mark.
The pre-match focus had been on Grégory Coupet's reunion with the club with which he won seven Ligue 1 titles, but it was the man who replaced the former French international in the Lyon goal, Hugo Lloris, who found himself in the spotlight soon after kick-off.
The current French number one was called into action as early as the first minute when he was forced to dive full length to turn away Jérémy Clément's low drive. Lloris then pawed a Marcos Ceara free-kick onto the bar, and deserved the fortune he enjoyed as he watched Aly Cissokho hook Guillaume Hoarau's goalbound follow-up to safety.
With the Lyon defence somewhat shaky, however, Lloris could not continue his one-man stand and was eventually beaten on 29 minutes - Giuly, who began his career at the Lyon youth academy, firing the ball into the net after Hoarau's miscued shot had fallen invitingly.
The goal so incensed the Lyon bench that goalkeeping coach Joël Bats was sent to the stands for his vociferous protests, but not even the most blinkered OL supporter could have denied Antoine Kombouaré's men deserved their advantage.
After witnessing a passive opening 45 minutes from his side, Lyon coach Claude Puel abandoned his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, sacrificing César Delgado and bringing on Gomis to support Lisandro Lopez in a classic 4-4-2. The changes, however, did nothing to rein in a PSG line-up determined to give the capacity crowd a night to remember.
Hoarau was only denied a free header on goal by the outstretched leg of Mathieu Bodmer, and the towering former Le Havre man then failed to pack sufficient punch in his shot to trouble Lloris following good approach work from Giuly and fellow ex-OL man Luyindula, who admirably filled the creative void left by Stéphane Sessegnon's suspension.
Giuly's pace then saw him create enough time and space to lash a fierce drive goalwards that Lloris did well to counter, but having weathered the early second-half storm, Lyon began to edge their way back into the match with substitute Miralem Pjanic a major influence in their renaissance.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina international, who has compensated for the loss of Juninho last summer by beginning to live up to his billing as a genuine star of the future, forced Coupet into his first real save just before the hour mark as the seven-time champions began to get their heads above water.
It was to prove a false dawn, though, as a Hoarau point-blank header brought the very best out of Lloris, whose flying one-handed reflex save was all that maintained his side's fading ambitions.
Coupet proved that what his young counterpart could do, he could do just as well in turning over Lisandro's rasping late drive, but the OL legend was helpless as Gomis fired past him from close range to ensure Coupet and his former club both had something to show from their reunion.