OL joined in pain the 8th finals

Despite a heated post-match, Depay's prayers were heard: OL are in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Despite a heated post-match, Depay's prayers were heard: OL are in the last 16 of the Champions League. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

Miracles do not run these days not the streets of Lyon. And even less the lawns when the players of the Olympique Lyonnais trample. But at this time of Festival of lights, local tradition that celebrates the Virgin Mary "for protecting" the city from an epidemic of plague in the Middle Ages, we must believe that the mother of Jesus decided to work overtime in reiterating the prayers of Lyons.

Relive the match Lyon – RB Leipzig: Depay saves OL, qualified at the last minute in the round of 16

Tuesday, December 10, the draw drawn against the Germans at the end of the meeting by the Lyonnais (2-2) seems indeed miraculous, as the qualification in 8es final that he offers, for a small point (2e with 8 points), thanks to the loss of Zenith Saint Petersburg against Benfica Lisbon (3-0). A result that is not without consequences in financial terms since the participation in the next round allows the payment of a tidy sum of 9.5 million euros in the coffers of the club President Jean-Michel Aulas.

Read also The stakes of the last day of the Champions League

Two individual exploits

Powerless to make this team play good football, the faith has its limits, the prayers of the supporters allowed the talented Houssem Aouar and Memphis Depay to save their flock on two individual exploits: a strike wound in the skylight of the first (50e) and an opportunistic crossfire from the second (82)e). The final miracle came four minutes from the end, when Jason Denayer and Marçal prevented the third German goal that the whole stadium already felt inevitable after a confused action (86).e).

In a disastrous first half, the players of coach Rudi Garcia, still whistled at the announcement of his name before the match, were completely overwhelmed by a seductive German team, second in the Bundesliga. Without forcing, Leipzig took off with two logical penalties following fouls by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes (9).e, Emil Forsberg) and from the middle Lucas Tousart (33e, Timo Werner), in big trouble tonight.

Pulsive seventh in a Ligue 1, which has perhaps never been so weak, OL displays a very disturbing level of play since the beginning of the season. The replacement of Sylvinho, ephemeral Brazilian coach at the beginning of the season, by the former Marseillais Garcia, did not revolutionize this OL, who lost almost all his matches against the teams of the top 10 of Ligue 1, at the exception of a draw against Bordeaux.

In the Champions League, Lyon have won only twice, including once (November 5 against Benfica) in four meetings under the command of Rudi Garcia. "By playing every three days, you can not always be brilliant"had pleaded the coach the day before in a press conference. Failing to be brilliant at all games, it would be nice to be more than a few rare occasions.

At Décines, in its stadium of 60,000 seats, where the show was more flamboyant before the kick-off with a sound and light animation, the OL must certainly more his qualification to the fact that Leipzig already had his ticket for the sequel before this last trip to the quality of his game. The Germans have significantly lowered the foot to 2-0 and have coincidentally accelerated again when the Lyonnais have equalized. This draw gives them the first place in group G.

Houssem Aouar and Anthony Lopes tried to calm tensions with their supporters.
Houssem Aouar and Anthony Lopes tried to calm tensions with their supporters. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

Back from the dead, OL will not have enjoyed this result for a long time. A few minutes after the final whistle, as the Olympians began to join the locker room, Captain Memphis Depay sprinted towards a supporter who waved an insulting banner at a donkey's head with the sign "Marcelo, Clear" } to his Brazilian teammate, in delicacy for several weeks with a non-negligible part of his supporters.

The decisive striker was trying to snatch the object. An act that denotes an undeniable collective state of mind but rather clumsy in form. There followed a start of a lively explanation with some fanatics trying to get in on the pitch and the rest of the players coming to their captain. It was finally Anthony Lopes and Houssem Aouar, the two darling Gones of the public, who eased the tensions by discussing a few minutes on the pitch with the representatives of the North Turn.

The emotion of Captain Depay

In the mixed zone, the few teammates, who agreed to answer the press, preferred not to dwell on this incident. Anthony Lopes, known as very close to the Bad Gones, the main association of supporters, appeared in particular shot and sad. Very touched, tears in his eyes, the Dutch Depay, he, at length, answered the questions of the broadcaster RMC Sport.

"I'm furious, angry, I do not know what to say. It was not our best game, that's true, but we qualified. We played with our heart, he said in an improvised and moving speech, It's extremely hard to play knowing that one of us is in conflict with our fans. What do you expect from us? Thank them even if they insult our families, our children? I have to be careful because it reminds me of my past and I do not want to be that man anymore. I became calmer. I do not have words for that. It does not make any sense to play in a full stadium so after we can not rejoice together. "

Despite all this difficult context, OL will play for the second time in a row the 8es final of the Champions League. Last year, the Gones also suffered to win their ticket thanks to a draw in Ukraine, against Shakhtar Donetsk, before being overtaken by Barca in the next round.

Failing to have found their football, Lyon may have paradoxically found a real team cohesion in adversity and the success of a badly embedded qualification. "I would have liked the post-match to go differently, even if it showed that my group has character, cohesion. My captain had a nice captain's speech, wanted to believe Rudi Garcia. "We did not sink. We continued to believe in ourselves », outbid Depay.

The Lyon recovery can only go through an exemplary state of mind. Just like a hypothetical reconciliation with a part of his audience. At OL, we have definitely not experienced a season as hectic for ages.

Read also Champions League: Memphis Depay, faith pegged to the body


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