CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, February 13, 2011
Carlos Bocanegra opened the scoring for the hosts, but Lyon held strong and masterminded a steady comeback to take hold of fifth place in the Ligue 1 standings.
Bocanegra notched his second goal of the season in a full ninety with the Stephanois backline.
Stade Geoffroy Guichard witnessed all the intensity befitting a derby in fast-paced side-to-side action. Both squads chomped at the bit in the first half with the hosts getting a few great looks on goal in the opening minutes.
After only eight minutes, the Greens got their first chance when Emmanuel Rivière chipped from the right side into the box for a dangerous header from Loîc Perrin, which Lyon's Hugo Lloris lifted over the bar.
The hosts found the back of the net four minutes later after Dimitri Payet delivered in a free kick from the left flank. Charging into the goal box, Bocanegra rounded in front of Jérémy Toulalan to get a foot on the shot and deflect it past Lloris for the lead.
Payet dished up another delivery just minutes later from the right corner that nearly doubled the advantage. Sylvain Marchal shook off Lyon defender Cris to head just inches to the left of Lloris's goal.
Lyon caught up with the hosts in the 28th minute when Gourcuff's corner from the left found traffic in the box and dribbled out into open space twelve yards out. Bafetimbi Gomis caught up with the loose ball, turned, and struck through a jungle of legs and past Jérémie Janot for the equalizer.
In the 35th minute Källstrom clipped Perrin for the first yellow of the night, and was on the receiving end of the second yellow three minutes later, when Albin Ebondo brought the Swede down and saw yellow from referee Lionel Jaffredo.
In a repeat strategy of their first goal, Lyon won a corner on the left side in the 40th minute, which Gourcuff took once again. This time, the French national's feed found Cris's head and defender Moustapha Bayal's elbow on its way into the net to give the visitors the lead.
Taking the lead into the locker rooms at halftime, Lyon maintained their poise before the 35,000 spectators throughout the second half and lit up the scoreboard after 20 minutes.
A missed header from Bayal off a long goal kick in the 68th minute allowed Lyon's Michel Bastos to get behind Bocanegra with only Janot staring him down. The Brazilian made scoring look simple with a light tap past the grounded Janot for the freebie goal.
The hosts tried to get back into the game in the 75th minute with a storming drive down the right and delivery into the box from Ebondo. Laurent Battles was there to chest down and launch an immediate blast at Lloris, but the French national keeper displayed quick reflexes, got a hand on the strike and pounced on the loose ball.
With the game in their command, Lyon looked to waste time in injury time, but ended up adding an insurance goal. From the midfield Toulalan found César Delgado slipping in behind the defense on the right side, who then immediately fed the unmarked Jimmy Briand just a few feet in front of the goal for the easy tap-in.
With the result Lyon and St. Etienne swap the fifth and sixth spots in the standings, the former with 38 points and the latter with 35.
St. Etienne will have to shake off the defeat and prepare themselves for an even tougher opponent in Olympique de Marseille on Saturday.