Sid justice for Lyon
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 19/10/05 9:47pm
Sidney Govou stole a last-gasp winner for Lyon after Olympiakos had threatened to spoil the evening for Gerard Houllier's men.
Pantelis Kafes produced a stunning 25-yard strike four minutes from time to level matters after Juninho Pernambucano's opener, but Govou responded to secure a well-deserved 2-1 victory for the highly impressive Lyon outfit.
The French league leaders got off to a flying start, thanks to a Juninho special after only four minutes.
Rather in the same manner that the two-yard opportunist strike has become Ruud van Nistelrooy's trademark, the 30-yard free kick has certainly become the Brazilian's.
The home crowd rose in expectation as Juninho placed the ball, and he did not disappoint, curling past the helpless Antonis Nikopolidis in the Olympiakos goal.
Govou then wasted a marvellous chance to double the lead within a minute, racing clear before taking too long and allowing Georgios Anatolakis to get back and deflect his shot over.
Olympiakos finally roused themselves and they had a good shout for a penalty waved away by English referee Graham Poll.
Anastasios Pantos broke in just behind the impressive Eric Abidal, and the Greek appeared to fall under the pressure of the full back, but Poll waved away the protests.
The Tring official was then involved in a more humorous moment, acting as a 12th defender for Lyon as he unwittingly disturbed an Olympiakos set-piece move.
Houllier's men continued to enjoy good possession throughout the first half, and with Abidal and Anthony Reveillere supporting like wing backs at every opportunity, Lyon always appeared to have several attacking options.
One such occasion nearly yielded a second goal as the French side manoeuvred the ball out wide to Govou, whose cross was inches away from the head of Fred.
The striker came close once again moments later, but his shot was well saved after Tiago had slipped him in with a slide rule pass.
However, Olympiakos were sporadically dangerous on the break, and Ieroklis Stoltidis should have scored when he found himself free on the edge of the box.
The second half continued with the free-flowing spirit of the first, but the vocal crowd had to wait 10 minutes for some goalmouth action.
The lively Yiannakis Okkas rose highest in the Lyon box but could only divert an inswinging free kick over goalkeeper Gregory Coupet's bar.
Lyon responded immediately in similar fashion, and once again it was set-piece expert Juninho swinging a free kick into the danger zone.
The highly impressive figure of Mahamadou Diarra found himself arriving onto the ball inside the six-yard box, but his celebrations were cut short by an offside call against team-mate Cris.
A second goal always looked more likely to come from the impressive Frenchmen, and Tiago was the next to test the Greek rearguard with a 25-yarder that forced Nikopolidis to tip over the bar.
Lyon's failure to add a second meant that the game tightened up to an extent as the clock ticked down, and the hosts opted to play on the break through the pace of Govou and substitute Sylvain Wiltord.
The former Arsenal man did not take long to make an impression, linking up well with John Carew before cutting inside to curl a shot inches past the far post.
Then came what looked like the sucker blow for Lyon with little over five minutes remaining, as Kafes produced a sensational strike to cancel out Juninho's effort.
There seemed to be no danger as Kafes stumbled over his first touch, but he then released a superbly measured effort that dipped over Coupet to stun the home support.
However, Lyon refused to accept the 1-1 scoreline, and immediately went on the offensive in search of a winner.
And it was left to Juninho to produce an immaculate pass into the path of Govou, who turned the ball past the advancing Nikopolidis on the volley to send the home crowd into raptures.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||2|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 19th Oct - Group F
R Madrid4 - 1Rosenborg
Lyon2 - 1Olympiakos
Wed 19th Oct - Group G
Chelsea4 - 0Real Betis
Anderlecht0 - 1Liverpool
Wed 19th Oct - Group E
Fenerbahce3 - 3Schalke
AC Milan0 - 0PSV
Wed 19th Oct - Group H
Rangers0 - 0Artmedia Bratis
FC Porto2 - 0Inter
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||5||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|4||FC Viktoria Plzen||5||0|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||5||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||5||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H