Steaua claim Lyon point
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
An under-strength Lyon were held to a 1-1 draw by Steaua Bucharest in their final UEFA Champions League group match at Stade Gerland.
With Juninho rested, Lyon looked at other players to inspire - but they were behind after just two minutes to Nicolae Dica's excellent volley.
The goal was a tremendous move as Dica controlled Sorin Paraschiv's right-wing cross on his chest before volleying into the corner of the net leaving Gregory Coupet with little chance.
The French champions were soon in their stride and in Juninho's absence, Hatem Ben Arfa and Kim Kallstrom were given the task of breaking down Steaua.
Ben Arfa's first meaningful run saw him jink his way past a series of challenges before setting up John Carew but the big Norwegian fired wide.
Ben Arfa then decided to go it alone, but again Lyon could not test Cornel Cernea in the away goal.
However, Cernea was soon picking the ball out of his net as Lyon found the leveller. It came from a set-piece as Kallstrom swung a ball in from the left and the unmarked Alou Diarra met it with a terrific low header to register his first goal for the club.
Steaua to their credit did not sit back and almost immediately could have re-taken the lead as Vasile Cristocea was picked out in the box. His cross-shot fired across the goalmouth - but Cyril Thereau just could not get a good enough touch on the ball when he should have scored.
Lyon began to dominate the possession but they were struggling to make any clear cut chances, indeed long range efforts from Sidney Govou and Carew were as good as it got for Gerard Houllier's men before the break.
After the interval and Steaua almost repeated their feat of the first half by scoring within two minutes of the kick-off.
This time it was Mirel Radoi who broke clear, but he could not keep his nerve and put the ball over the bar.
Steaua were causing Lyon all sorts of problems as the French champions failed to get themselves going and the Romanians missed a great chance to go ahead again as Banel Nicolita fired over.
Lyon finally realised the second half had begun and retaliated by breaking down the field and almost taking the lead, but Kallstrom's sweet volley flew just over.
Ben Arfa continued to be the main live-wire for Lyon and he nearly pounced as he embarked on another mazy run down the left, but his shot from ten yards could only find the side netting.
Houllier looked to spark his side into action by introducing Jeremy Toulalan and Sylvain Wiltord into the fray.
The two of them combined immediately as Toulalan broke down the right and crossed for Wiltord, but his effort flew over.
Coupet was then called into action again to make sure Lyon took something from the game as he was down well at his near post to deny Dica a second goal as he latched onto Nicolita's cross.
Steaua were delighted at the final whistle to take a point and Lyon - who had already sealed top spot - were pleased to maintain their unbeaten record in this season's Champions League.
Lyon v Steaua Bucharest player ratings