One day one match (27/11/2007) : OL 2 – 2 Barcelona, a result synonymous with hope
13 years ago, OL hosted Barça in their stadium on the penultimate matchday of the Champions League group stages. The Rhônalpins were then third in their group and could not afford to lose since in the event of a victory by Glasgow Rangers, they would be eliminated from the competition. Conversely, Lionel Messi and his partners only needed one point to advance to the next round. In addition, players trained by Alain Perrin had a measure of revenge to take since they had lost by three goals to nothing in the first leg at Camp Ñou.
From the start of the match, everything was difficult for Les Gones. Xavi picked out Messi perfectly on a long ball, and the Argentinian squared for Bojan who played a marvel of ball to the feet of Iniesta who did not hesitate and hit his shot beautifully into the back of the net (0-1, 4 ’). Rémy Vercoutre said "We started off badly but we showed a lot of team spirit and selflessness". The Gerland was silent for a fraction of a second before pushing the players again toward getting a result. And it was also a lightning reaction that occured since it was only three minutes later that Juninho took a free kick that nobody touched and that beat Victor Valdes (1-1, 7 ’). But after that, the residents of Tola Vologe regrouped in their half of the pitch and make the back line solid to avoid conceding an additional goal which would put them in a challenging position. "We ran a lot in chasing them and when we had the ball it was difficult" recalled the Italian left back Fabio Grosso. A few minutes before the break, the Lyon looked better. Juninho, twice and Govou had great chances that they could not convert.
On the return from the locker room, Messi earned a penalty after out-pacing "Toto" Squillaci. The current six-time Ballon d'Or winner took charge and converted the penalty (1-2, 58 ’), thereby not helping Lyon's task. But the Gerland played its role as twelfth man as it should be; the hosts would ultimately bring back a point from this big match. Yet on the ground, it was indeed the Catalans who continued to be dangerous. Rémy Vercoutre was forced into a save several times to keep his team in the hint. And it is ultimately from the penalty spot that OL would find the solution. Abidal, the former Lyon player, fouled Keita and the Brazilian Juninho tied the score ten minutes from time (2-2, 79 ’). "The team has shown real mental strength. (…) At times, you had to leave the ball and keep your shape. ”said the South American. The score will not change anymore and would therefore suit the two sides. Lilian Thuram, then a player at Barcelona, noted at the end of the game "It is a good result for both teams. OL are capable of qualifying in Glasgow. With their experienced players, they should be fine. " The club in red and blue colors could therefore be proud of its performance as underlined by its tactician “The players have worked hard for the jersey. In their last Champions League game, the Barcelonans have never conceded as many chances. "
For their part, the Scottish side lost three goals to two in Stuttgart, a result that therefore allowed Olympique Lyonnais to join them in the standings. President Jean-Michel Aulas explained at the end of the match “From the start, we have gone through all stages of emotion. Going to play a 'final' in Glasgow is a good challenge. It’s doable. In any case, it’s a great motivation. It’s always in trouble that great teams are forged. We had a catastrophic start to competition in Barcelona. Then things picked up. Tonight we saw a real team with moral integrity ”. The Rhone club would go across the Channel in this Group E's final matchday and win (0-3), qualifying for the Round of 16 of the Champions League. Before this final match, Sydney Govou said “We will have to win this match. It could be the start of a great adventure" and he had no idea what was in store...