One day, one match (18/03/1964): OL 2 - 0 Hamburg, a first European semi-final
For the fourth time, Olympique Lyonnais competed in a European Cup in the 1963-1964 season. It was, however, a first in this "Cup of Cups" since before, the supporters could only encourage their team in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup on three occasions (59-60, 60-61, 61-62). These were three quick participations because Lyon were always eliminated from at the first time of asking in the Round of 64 (against Inter Milan, FC Cologne and Sheffield Wednesday).
But 56 years ago today, the Rhone club faced Hamburg in the second leg of the quarter-final of the Cup Winners' Cup in what already seemed a new course for Les Gones. After having managed to earn a draw on German soil thanks in particular to a goal from Aimé Mignot, Lyon had to earn a result in front of their home crowd at the Stade Gerland to hope to continue their magnificent adventure. In the third edition of this competition, the Rhônalpin side began to believe in their progress and wanted to fight until the end.
From the start, the players, then trained by Lucien Jasseron, showed a lot of desire and did well to develop their play. A desire to attack was will quickly rewarded with a goal by the Franco-Argentinian Nestor Combín in the 12th minute of play. And it was him again who doubled the lead on 62', taking at the same time his goal tally in the competition to nine. As if he was the only player in the game, he was then sent off 15 minutes from time. It was an expulsion which hardly disadvantaged Lyon, who that evening were indeed much stronger than the Germans.
OL thus qualified for the semi-finals with the Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon as their opponent. Despite two beautiful matches over the two legs in the Iberian Peninsula and in France (0-0 and 1-1), with once again an goal by Lyon's serial scorer, Nestor Combín, it was a play-off match that decided the finalist and it was the players from Lisbon who prevailed (1-0) and deprived, at the same time, Lyon of a European final. It was not until 2010 that OL contested another European semi-final, in the Champions League against Bayern Munich. Anyway, this feat in the Cup Winners' Cup was nevertheless remarkable for Fleury Di Nallo and his gang