Olympique Lyonnais went top of UEFA Champions League Group F after extending Rosenborg BK's winless home run in the competition to seven games. The French champions were indebted to a header from Cris just before half-time to continue their 100 per cent record in the section.
Rosenborg striker Thorstein Helstad shook off a toe problem to play while Vidar Riseth and Daniel Braaten replaced Alejandro Lago and Fredrik Winsnes from their Matchday 1 starting lineup. For Lyon, Mahamadou Diarra passed a late test on a thigh strain and Brazilian playmaker Juninho Pernambucano returned after being rested for Sunday's 1-0 win at FC Nantes Atlantique. Lyon's top scorer John Carew, who struck 18 goals in Rosenborg's title triumph of 1999, started against his former club.
Although Rosenborg saw more of the early possession, they failed to trouble Grégory Coupet in the Lyon goal. Instead Juninho became the key influence, his long pass into the area finding Sidney Govou, who jinked past Mikael Dorsin but hit a weak shot straight at Espen Johnsen. Juninho then forced the goalkeeper into a good save after pouncing on a loose ball following Carew's powerful run into the box.
Lyon were dominating, while the home side seemed content to attack on the break. The French champions, leading marksmen in last season's competition, were frustrated when Diarra wasted another good chance, jumping unmarked to head Govou's corner over the bar from eight metres. Govou then turned his marker before hitting a fizzing volley just over.
It was not all one-way traffic, however, and Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Braaten combined well to pressurise Jérémy Berthod into conceding a free-kick 25 metres out. Dorsin stepped up and hit a curling left-footed effort that beat Coupet but cannoned off the foot of a post. The difference in class was apparent, though, when Helstad miscontrolled a through-ball from Ørjan Berg with just Coupet to beat.
It was a let-off for the visitors, who capitalised one minute before half-time after Berg, who had just been booked, conceded a free-kick in range for specialist Juninho to try his luck. As expected, the Brazilian released a swerving shot which Johnsen could only parry for a corner. It proved a vital moment, as the resulting delivery was touched on by Claudio Caçapa at the near post and knocked in by Cris to put Lyon ahead.
Rosenborg pushed forward immediately and had a penalty claim rejected after Braaten's shot struck the body of Cris. From the following corner, Braaten hit a half-volley narrowly wide. That boosted the morale of the home fans and they roared their team on when the sides emerged after the break.
Lyon did not sit back, however, and were close to extending their lead when Carew missed a cross from Florent Malouda. Juninho then curled another set-piece centimetres off target, before Malouda almost embarrassed the goalkeeper with a powerful effort that deflected off Roar Strand, changed direction and nearly crept inside the near post.
Rosenborg striker Frode Johnsen was one of three new faces introduced but the Trondheim club's striking troubles continued. The one-goal cushion rarely looked under threat, summed up by the fact Coupet made his first, and only, save of the game from a weak shot from Skjelbred on 73 minutes, as Lyon claimed the win to go three points clear in Group F.