Olympique Lyonnais went into the UEFA Champions League knockout stages on the back of an emphatic victory against Group E's bottom team Debreceni VSC, whose debut campaign ended without a point, yet Claude Puel's side still missed out on top spot.
From the moment Bafétimbi Gomis opened the scoring in the 25th minute, there only looked like being one winner. Michel Bastos added a second before the break as Lyon seized total control, with further strikes in the second period through the excellent Miralem Pjanić and left-back Aly Cissokho. The margin of victory meant Lyon looked set to overtake ACF Fiorentina courtesy of a superior goal difference with the Italian side drawing at Liverpool FC, only for Alberto Gilardino to strike in added time at Anfield.
Already through for a seventh consecutive season, Lyon began with two clear objectives: improve a recent run in which they have failed to win in six Ligue 1 matches and clinch the victory they needed to keep alive their hopes of topping the section. Yet with top scorer Lisandro rested, Les Gones struggled to find fluency early on. Aside from Anthony Réveillère's wayward cross-shot, the home side did not threaten during a low-key opening in which András Herczeg's charges slowly grew in confidence.
Zsolt Laczkó had already sent a long shot dipping too high when Péter Czvitkovics forced Hugo Lloris to push his low free-kick round the post on 15 minutes. OL reacted with a set-piece of their own, Bastos's fizzing strike drawing a parry from Djordje Pantić, who was relieved to see the flag raised as Jean II Makoun slotted in the rebound. Nevertheless, the visitors had looked comfortable until József Varga's misplaced pass presented possession to Sidney Govou. The French international advanced purposefully before shooting low, and when Pantić spilled again, Gomis made no mistake.
Govou's night would be cut short by injury, the winger replaced by Pjanić before the half-hour, yet OL were cruising after Bastos added a second. There was a degree of fortune to the goal, Pjanić miscuing his free-kick strike into the path of the Brazilian, who turned sharply and rifled an accurate shot inside the far post. The Hungarian champions were beaten 5-1 by FC Girondins de Bordeaux on their last trip to France eight years ago, and must have feared a repeat as Lyon came out firing in the second half.
Gomis latched on to Pjanić's clever pass and drew a fine fingertip save from Pantić before volleying a more awkward chance over moments later. Pjanić was pulling the strings for Puel's men, and deservedly got on the scoresheet just before the hour, deflecting Bastos's inviting cross from the right beyond the exposed Pantić for his third goal of the campaign.
With Debrecen happy to limit the damage, the game's closing quarter was eventful only for Lyon's fourth goal, a powerful strike from Cissokho that beat Pantić at his near post. It was the 19th goal the debutants had conceded in their six matches, meaning they equal the record held by FC Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvárosi TC for the competition's most porous defence.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.