Masculins / Viktoria - OL

Exceptional Anthony Lopes!

Published on 20 March 2014 at 9:55 PM
OL found harder than they might have expected in the second half, having opened the scoring with the last kick of the opening period... An exceptional display from Lopes... and a big slice of good fortune ensured OL qualified...

The return leg shouldn't have provided too many problems for Maxime Gonalons and Co. after the 4-1 triumph in the first leg at the Stade de Gerland. But the team would have to be careful of a Viktoria Plzen side with nothing left to lose, that wanted to pull off a miraculous qualification for the quarter-finals. Umtiti, Grenier and Fofana are all long-term absentees for Lyon, while Gourcuff, back after an excellent second-half against AS Monaco, and Gomis returned to the starting XI.

Viktoria looked to attack from the outset and they chances (3', 17', 22') without being able to find that crucial opening goal to get them back in the game. Lyon struggled to hold onto possession. Tolisso hit the post with a brilliant header from a Gourcuff free-kick (27'). After weathering the early storm, OL seemed to be heading comfortably into the quarter-finals of the Europa League… Viktoria looked to have dropped their heads... But it was then that they launched another stirring finale to the first half. Lopes made an astonishing save from close range as the home side let another chance slip. The Czech champions were on top but couldn't score in the final seconds of the half...

Scoreless at the break? No… Bisevac played in one final ball over the top and Gomis got the better of his marker and fired in a shot on the left foot that squeezed inside the far post to take the tie beyond the hosts. It was cruel for Tecl and Co..

Koné headed wide… a home side shot flew into the night sky… OL comfortably controlled their advantage while Viktoria continued to struggle in the final third. Gomis produced a wonderful piece of skill (56') that the home supporters applauded. Lopes produced another full-length save (59') to keep out a header before Kolar scored (60'). Viktoria had their reward and two minutes later they were in front thanks to Tcel.

Wave after wave of home side attack swept forward and crashed against the visiting white wall. The stadium in Plzen began to believe in a miracle. OL were on the back foot. Viktoria rode the wave of adrenalin. Dabo conceded a penalty and fortunately the ball bounced back out off the post! Incredible…

Since the hour mark, OL have been overrun. Luckily Lopes was between the posts. The Franco-Portuguese 'keeper produced another brilliant save (83'), and then a magical one (87').. OL went down 2-1 but are qualified for the quarter-finals after riding out a hostile second half in the Czech Republic. Hats off to Anto! And a thought for Viktoria who deserved so much more…


Plzen, 10,352 spectators ;  Referee: M. Marciniak (Pol). Viktoria 2-1 OL (H-T: Viktoria 0-1 OL).

Viktoria: Bolek – Reznik, Cisovsky, Prochazka, Limbersky (cap) – Horava, Hrosovsky – Petrzela (Wagner 77'), Kolar (Bakos 74'), Duris (Koncal 84')  – Tecl. Coach: Dusan Uhrin.

OL: A. Lopes – M. Lopes (Bedimo 60') – Bisevac, B. Koné, Dabo – Gonalons (cap), Ferri, Tolisso (Tolisso 76'), Y, Gourcuff – Gomis (Malbranque 84'), Briand. Coach: Rémi Garde.

Goals: Gomis (OL) 45', Kolar (VP) 60', Tecl (VP) 62'

Bookings: Limbersky (VP) 9', M. Lopes (OL) 40', Cisovsky (VP) 81', Briand (OL) 91'

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