French champions Olympique Lyonnais bowed out of the UEFA Champions League following a 1-1 draw with Rosenborg BK in the final match in Group D at the Lerkendal stadium.
The match was an emotional occasion for Rosenborg’s veteran coach Nils Arne Eggen and midfield player Bent Skammelsrud, who both retired after the game and the home side attacked throughout as they sought a farewell victory.
The capacity crowd, who paid tribute to their departing heroes before kick-off, urged their players on, and the game began in appropriately open fashion as Sonny Anderson fired two difficult chances just wide in the first six minutes. However, the home side should have been ahead before the game was ten minutes old.
Good work down the left from Harald Brattbakk and Ørjan Berg created a shooting opportunity for Dagfinn Enerly but, unmarked on the edge of the area, he shot wide.
Chances continued to come at both ends, with Vikash Dhorasoo shooting over after a good passing move from Lyon after 13 minutes, and then slicing a left-foot shot high and wide from the edge of the area after Eric Carrière had rolled a free-kick short.
At the other end, Berg saw a bouncing header go wide, and Azar Karadas missed another great chance, racing on to a flick-on only to fire over with only Grégory Coupet to beat.
The last five minutes before half-time could easily have seen either side take the lead. First, Sidney Govou worked a shooting chance but saw his shot saved by Árni Gautur Arason, who gathered at the second attempt with no Lyon player there for the rebound. Enerly then had another clear sight of goal, but his free-kick from the edge of the area was saved by the well-positioned Coupet.
The second half began in much quieter fashion, although Rosenborg nearly took the lead after Coupet misjudged a corner and Lyon were forced to scramble clear amid confusion. There were further chances at both ends, with Anderson seeing a shot saved by Arason before Rosenborg’s Frode Johnsen put a free header from a corner wide of Coupet’s near post.
However, the breakthrough finally arrived for the home side in the 68th minute, as Brattbakk capitalised on a mistake by Patrick Müller to burst clear down the left and cut inside Claudio Caçapa before beating Coupet with a low right-foot shot.
That goal left Lyon with it all to do and, despite three attacking changes from coach Paul Le Guen, the French side pushed forward but did not look like scoring until Govou combined with Anderson and fired low past Arason six minutes from time.
The goal ensured a frantic finale, as both sides threw everything forward, and chances came at both ends before, in the very last action of the game, Anderson put a free header wide from two metres.