After an amazing match, which saw Olympique Lyonnais defeat their rivals Olympique Marseilles by a score of 3-2 on Sunday, the victors of The Olympico were unable to take their winning touch to the Stade Abbe Deschamps, as they suffered a 4-0 defeat to Auxerre.
Prior to the match, Claude Puel went with a less experienced line up compared to what he had available. Even though Aly Cissokho was available, Puel instead continued with Thimothee Kolodzieczak at left back. In addition, Puel also went with Clement Grenier, because of the lack of midfielders available to the Lyon coach. Lisandro Lopez, Jeremey Toulalan and Yohann Gourcuff were all unavailable for this match, as all are suffering with injuries.
Early in the match, Auxerre star Ireneusz Jelen succumbed to a hamstring injury in the 4th minute. In the 10th minute, Jelen, who was showing visible signs of pain, was replaced by Roy Contout.
Neither team pressured the opposing goal until the 14th minute when Lyon was awarded a free kick. Michel Bastos, who was returning from suspension, riffled a pass into the box, which found the head of Bafetimbi Gomis and the back of the net passed Olivier Sorin. Unfortunately for Gomis, offsides was called and the goal was disallowed.
After the Lyon attempt, Auxerre were able to apply some pressure around Hugo Lloris and the Lyon goal. Even with a few good chances off of set pieces, Auxerre were not able to get any quality chances. But in the 20th minute, Dennis Oliech, who now became Auxerre’s target up front with the absence of Jelen, was able to collect a long pass from Delvin Ndinga splitting the Lyon defensive pair of Cris and Dejan Lovren and lobbing the ball past Lloris to give AJA the 1-0 lead. Oliech was tackled by Cris in the box, but was able to get the goal anyway. If not, an award would have surely been awarded.
“I was going for the penalty, but I was able to get the touch and the goal. It was good for me,” said Oliech at the half.
Even after the goal, the defensive-minded Auxerre continued to pressure the Lyon goal, but Lyon’s defense seemed to tightened up, giving Auxerre less chances on the Lyon goal. But even with the defense getting back on their feet, Lyon wasn’t able to create any good offensive opportunities off of the transition in the first half.
In the 40th minute, Lyon didn’t make their situation any better. After blowing another offensive opportunity, Auxerre executed a superb counter attack which lead to Dennis Oliech breaking toward the Lyon goal. As a result, Dejan Lovren, who was the lone defender back, harshly tackled the Kenyan striker, giving him his second yellow card, and putting Lyon down to ten men.
Just before the end of the half, during the first minute of stoppage time, Alain Traore scored a wonderful header from a beautiful cross from Cedric Hengbart to give Auxerre the 2-0 lead. Traore was able to work his way in front of Cris and position himself perfectly for the header.
It didn’t take Auxerre long to continue their scoring ways in the second half. Just five minutes into the half, Auxerre pressured their way into the Lyon box, with a nice connection of passes between Dariusz Dudka, Contout and Ndinga which lead to Alain Traore’s second goal of the match, giving Auxerre a 3-0 lead.
The rest of the match saw Auxerre continuing to dominate the match. In the 57th minute, Oliech had the opportunity to give Auxerre a 4-0 lead, but his shot past Lloris just bushed the outside of the goal post. Just five minutes later, an offsides call on Contout also cost Auxerre a chance to find that fourth goal. In the 67th minute, Contout again found Oliech, but Lloris was able to make the same.
But in the 79th minute, Auxerre were able to finally score their inevitable fourth goal, as Amadou Sidibe, who flew by Lyon defender Alexandre Lacazette on the left flank, put a cross into the box which found the foot of a streaking Cedric Hengbart, who put another ball passed Lloris.
Lyon were able to do very little against the Auxerre counter attack, and remained a non-factor the rest of the match.
“There is no way to explain this. We played the same way as we did against Toulouse. This is a nightmare,” said Lyon’s Maxime Gonalons after the match.
Lyon’s loss makes it much harder for them to battle for second place in Ligue 1, which would give them an automatic qualification into the Champions League for next season. For Auxerre, a team that looked as if they could be relegated to Ligue 2 next season now find themselves in a stronger mid-table position, which should give them enough room to remain in France’s top flight.