An OL demonstration
OL had gotten over their derby defeat by winning their last two games. They showed great character on each occasion to win it in stoppage time. They remain in the top three and still within touching distance of the leaders OM and PSG, but with ASSE and Les Girondins still breathing down their neck… OL had won their last seven in a row at the Stade de Gerland! An eighth would take their tally to 36 points, at an average of 2 points per match… Stade Malherbe had dropped all the way down into the relegation zone. They had taken just two points from their last six games! 14 points from 17 matches isn't many... They had the second worst defence in the land, but are still scoring goals...
Hubert Fournier had made five changes against ETG. Rested in Annecy, Bedimo returned to the left side of the defence while Tolisso returned to the starting line-up in midfield. Benzia partnered Lacazette in attack. The traditional 4-4-2 to begin with. Patrice Garande changed and went with a 5-4-1 formation! First of all to try and defend well, with former OL 'keeper Rémy Vercoutre as the last line of defence...
There was no time to get into the game… OL received a very generous penalty, for a foul on Fekir, that Lacazette put away. Vercoutre produced a miraculous save four minutes later to deny Fekir. Lacazette and Fekir were causing Caen all sorts of trouble. Stade Malherbe had a first chance thanks to Koita and Duhamel (21'). But OL dominated proceedings, using the full width of the pitch and pulling their opponents around. Vercoutre made another important stop to deny Gonalons. Stade Malherbe were in trouble, even if Koita and Duhamel both shot at Lopes' goal. It was a very solid first half from Gonalons and Co. against a side that struggled to find solutions. OL were the better side, but only had one goal to show for it...
Koita had a good chance early in the second period. But there was no time for OL to doubt as a Fekir corner fell to Lacazette at the back post and he blasted home his second of the evening. Moments later, Fekir picked out Benzia for the third goal of the evening! Fekir and Lacazette were involved in all three goals… Hubert Fournier brought off Lacazette with 18 minutes left, replaced by Yattara. And Fekir earned a penalty, saved by Vercoutre (76'). Ghezzal then saw Vercoutre turn his free-kick onto the woodwork, before saving a Yattara header. Vercoutre kept the score-line respectable...
OL continue their fantastic home run at the Stade de Gerland. They are now averaging 2 points per game and keeping the pressure on OM and PSG while keeping the chasers at bay… another excellent result ahead of next week's trip to Bordeaux to bring the curtain down on a very good first-half of the season...
Lyon, Stade de Gerland, 32,000 spectators; Refere: Mr. Varela. OL 3-0 Stade Malherbe (H-T: OL 1-0 Stade Malherbe).
OL: Lopes – Jallet, Bisevac, Umtiti, Bedimo – Gonalons (c), Ferri (Mvuemba 80'), Tolisso, Fekir – Lacazette (Yattara 72'), Benzia (Ghezzal 63'). Coach: Fournier.
Stade Malherbe: Vercoutre – Seube, Al Yahia, Da Silva, Pierre, Imorou – Nangis (Bazile 60'), Kante (Adeoti 68'), Feret (c), Koita (Raspentino 76') – Duhamel. Coach: Garande.
Goals: Lacazette (pen. 7', 57'), Benzia (62')
Bookings: Seube (SMC) 44', Ferri (OL) 46', Al Yahia (SMC) 53'