Olympique Lyonnais withstood a barrage of pressure to clinch a gritty aggregate win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and book their place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg, the visitors defended with fierce determination to protect their advantage, although it took another sensational Hugo Lloris save in the closing moments to ultimately seal the triumph. Marouane Chamakh had halved the deficit with his fifth European goal of the season just before the break, setting up a thrilling second half in which Les Girondins poured forward relentlessly. Lyon stood firm, however, thus ensuring they will compete in a semi-final after falling in the last eight three times in the previous six years.
Les Marine et Blanc entered the contest boasting a perfect home record in this season's competition yet three defeats from their last three outings was clearly playing on the French champions' confidence. As Laurent Blanc's men struggled to find their passing game, OL warmed to the task and twice threatened to extend their aggregate lead early on. Michel Bastos rifled a powerful free-kick narrowly wide and Bafétimbi Gomis nodded César Delgado's corner over before the hosts gradually got a foothold.
Not surprisingly, when Bordeaux stirred on 18 minutes the danger came from a free-kick. Wendel's superb delivery from the right drew Lloris off his line but Yoann Gourcuff failed to add to Bordeaux's 11 set-piece goals this term, glancing his header over. The opening brought the crowd to life, though, and suddenly the momentum was firmly with Bordeaux. Only a series of towering headers from Cris kept Claude Puel's side afloat as Benoît Trémoulinas and Wendel fizzed over crosses from either flank.
Les Girondins were out of luck on 44 minutes when former Lyon midfielder Alou Diarra thundered a dipping volley against the crossbar from distance, although the home fans were soon celebrating. Seconds before the interval, the marauding Trémoulinas collected Jussiê's return ball on the left, surged to the byline, and when Jaroslav Plašil flicked on his near-post cross, Chamakh was on hand to force in his second goal of the tie from close range.
If Les Gones were struggling to create chances without their suspended talisman Lisandro, his replacement Gomis was quick to show in the second half. Directly from the restart, the French international broke free on the right side of the penalty area and evaded the advancing Cédric Carrasso, only to shoot tamely at covering defender Marc Planus from a testing angle.
Bastos then fired a volley wide before the French champions seized control and threw everything at Lyon in the last half-hour. Chamakh was a constant menace yet with Cris and Jean-Alain Boumsong typically combative, the Moroccan international could not forge a clear opportunity. Bordeaux always looked capable of scoring the all-important second from a set piece, but for once their favoured weapon failed to deliver. Ludovic Sané headed Gourcuff's corner wide with ten minutes remaining and Lloris pulled off a stunning save from Wendel's header on 87 minutes as time ran out on Bordeaux.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.