Lyon thrash hapless Sparta
By Simon Fudge. Last Updated: 08/12/04 9:51pm
Lyon clinched top spot in UEFA Champions League Group D with an impressive 5-0 victory over hapless Sparta Prague.
Two goals from Brazilian youngster Nilmar - thanks much to the assistance of Sparta goalkeeper Jaromir Blazek - sent the French champions on their way to a five-goal rout.
Single strikes from Michael Essien, substitute Sylvain Idangar and Bryan Bergougnoux capped a fine performance from Lyon, who took top spot after Tuncay Sanli's hat-trick saw third place Fenerbahce defeat already qualified Manchester United 3-0 in Istanbul.
The Ligue 1 champions started with a less than full strength line-up at Stade Gerland, but that seemed to have little impact on the home side's first half performance.
Paul Le Guen's side were rampant throughout the first 45 minutes and Blazek was forced into early saves from Nilmar's overhead strike and Florent Malouda's low shot moments later.
However, it took seven minutes for the French side to delight the home supporters, as Bergougnoux's corner from the left found an unmarked Michael Essien and his header easily found the back of the net for 1-0.
Lyon kept pressing after the restart and Malouda again forced Blazek to make another save from his left footed strike in the Sparta box, but the home side extended their lead in comical circumstances.
A cross from the right found Lamine Diatta at the far post and his header was initially well saved from Blazek.
However, the Sparta custodian failed to wrap up the ball on the ground and with Nilmar lurking by the keeper, the young Brazilian made no mistake in toe poking the unexpected rebound into the net for 2-0.
It was all Lyon at this stage and the Czech side were fortunate that both Bergougnoux and Nilmar squandered a pair of chances each after some superb build-up play.
At the other end, Lyon goalkeeper Nicolas Puydebois had little action to deal with from Sparta's attackers, with the custodian making a routine save from substitute Ales Urbanek's free kick.
In fact, Lyon should have been three goals to the good at the break, but Malouda failed to hit the target with a side footed volley in the Sparta box.
The second half failed to have the same intensity as the opening 45 minutes, though Puydebois had to be alert to stop Lukas Zelenka's strike with his feet not long after the restart.
Lyon, however, made the points safe six minutes after the break and from another Blazek howler in the Sparta goal.
Frau's run and shot from the left was not dealt with properly by Blazek and Nilmar again took advantage of the rebound and easily converted the chance to make it 3-0.
The young Bergougnoux showed his promise during the second half and he had two quality chances to find the scoresheet himself, with his first a wayward strike over the Sparta bar from Nilmar's low cross on the left.
His second chance saw Blazek redeem himself with a fine save from the youngster's ferocious shot which deflected off Sparta defender Martin Petras.
Sparta were then unfortunate not to score a consolation moments later, but Urbanek and Petras could not reach a dangerous cross from the right.
With the match heading towards the final whistle, Lyon capped a fine performance with sublime goal from Champions League debutant Idangar.
The youngster side footed Frau's pass past a stranded Blazek to make it four for Lyon.
There was enough time for the home side to make it a rout, as Bergougnoux finally got the goal that his performance deserved after he latched on to a long pass forward in an unmarked position between two Sparta defenders.
He finished sublimely with his right foot past Blazek to make it an emphatic evening for Le Guen's side.
In the end, Lyon head into the final 16 draw as Group D winners while Sparta will have to return to domestic matters in Czech Republic's Gambrinus Liga.
Click here for Lyon v Sparta Prague player ratings.
|Lyon||Team Statistics||Sparta Prague|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|13||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||9|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 8th Dec - Group D
Fenerbahce3 - 0Man Utd
Lyon5 - 0Sp Prague
Wed 8th Dec - Group B
Roma0 - 3R Madrid
Leverkusen3 - 0Dynamo Kiev
Wed 8th Dec - Group A
Liverpool3 - 1Olympiakos
Deportivo0 - 5Monaco
Wed 8th Dec - Group C
Ajax2 - 2Bay Munich
Mac Tel Avi1 - 1Juventus
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|2||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H