Lyon fired out a warning to the rest of Europe when cruising into the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League at the expense of PSV Eindhoven.
PSV came into the game trailing 1-0 from the first leg, but they were never given an opportunity to settle and two goals from Tiago took the game beyond Guus Hiddink's men, with Sylvain Wiltord and Fred adding second-half goals to highlight the gulf in class between the sides over the two legs.
Lyon have long been viewed as potential winners of the tournament and this professional destruction of the Dutch champions augurs well for the future, although they will be without key man Juninho Pernambucano for the first leg of their quarter final after he picked up a silly booking.
Gerard Houllier's men had been brooding for 12 months over their exit at the hands of PSV last season, but this impressive victory set the record straight in no uncertain terms.
Juninho is a master of the dead-ball situation, but he is also decidedly useful in open play and was denied a goal inside five minutes by team-mate John Carew who inadvertently diverted his shot to safety after the Samba star had strode forward and let fly from 25 yards.
Francois Clerc has blossomed under Houllier this term and is being tipped to make France's World Cup squad. He showed his quality early on at Stade Gerland, once when dragging a shot across goal and later seeing a shot blocked for a corner.
Wiltord, John Carew and Florent Malouda have been frightening the life out of defences in Ligue 1 this term and the latter came close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes when nipping inside Michael Reiziger but dragging his shot into the side netting.
The Dutch were rarely seen as an attacking force in the opening 25 minutes and the intense Lyon pressure eventually broke through PSV's resistance, and it came as no surprise that Juninho was the architect.
The gifted Brazilian played in a perfectly-weighted pass inside Theo Lucius for Malouda and he dashed into the box before cutting the ball back perfectly for the onrushing Tiago to slam into the roof of the net.
The goal took extra time out of the equation and left PSV needing two to progress and they came close to an immediate reply as Gregory Coupet was forced to dash off his line to thwart Jefferson Farfan who had got beyond the Lyon back-line for the first time in the match.
Juninho had a couple of sighters earlier in the half and he hit the target on the half hour after walking through a weak challenge, but his rasping, rising drive was pushed onto the post by Gomes.
PSV were given a major let-off when Carew headed weakly over the bar, but within minutes they were left reeling when skipper Philip Cocu was given his marching orders by Mike Riley.
Cocu was shown a second yellow for a late challenge on Clerc and could have little argument with the second caution, but his first booking was harsh as Juninho tumbled to the floor under no contact from the Dutch veteran.
Things got worse for the Dutch champions deep into first-half injury time as Tiago slammed home his second of the match after PSV failed to deal with a Juninho free kick from the left.
Shorn of their skipper and three goals adrift, PSV could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel. The thought never entered their head as Arouna Kone and Farfan squandered presentable chances, while at the other end Wiltord missed his kick with the goal gaping after Malouda had escaped down the left.
PSV battled valiantly, with Ibrahim Afelley's determined run back to thwart the rampaging Cris typical of their efforts, but they did not have the quality to test Lyon in the final third.
Lyon raised the stakes and rubbed salt into PSV's wounds when Wiltord prodded home from close range after Fred's shot had been saved by Gomes. The goal, though, owed much to the run and pass from Tiago, a man discarded by Chelsea at the start of the season following the capture of Michael Essien - from Lyon!
PSV had a chance to save some face 13 minutes from time through Kone, but he hopelessly miscued his effort and it summed up the evening for the men from Eindhoven.
Second half substitute Fred lit up the Stade Gerland in the last minute when slipping past Ismael Aisatti and slotting home from the edge of the box and he promptly whipped out a dummy from his shorts which sparked wild celebrations among the Lyon players who were happy to celebrate with a player who had just become a father.
Click here for Lyon v PSV player ratings.
|Lyon||Team Statistics||PSV Eindhoven|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||0|
|7||Shots off Target||4|