Olympique Lyonnais completed their UEFA Champions League Group F campaign in style as a last-gasp goal from Fred secured a hard-fought victory against a determined Rosenborg BK.
The French champions showed glimpses of their best football and created openings at regular intervals, but a first-half strike from Karim Benzema, their 17-year-old debutant, was all they had to show for their efforts. Rosenborg, who now go into the UEFA Cup Round of 32 after finishing third, produced a spirited display and after hitting the post twice in the second period, they eventually drew level through Daniel Braaten's header. However, there was still time for Fred to grab a winner three minutes into added time, sweeping in Hatem Ben Arfa's cutback.
With first place assured, Lyon coach Gérard Houllier rested a host of senior players. Rémy Vercoutre replaced Grégory Coupet in goal, Jérémy Clément joined Benoît Pedretti in midfield, while the highly-rated Benzema made his European debut, playing just off John Carew. Sylvain Wiltord added experience on the right, with another teenager, Ben Arfa, on the left. Rosenborg also named a much-changed lineup but for different reasons. The Norwegian side had four midfielders missing through injury, including captain Roar Strand, so Vidar Riseth and Fredrik Winsnes patrolled the middle of the pitch, with Frode Johnsen partnering Thorstein Helstad in attack.
Lyon were the first to settle and produced the first shot on 12 minutes. Cris strode purposefully out of defence and picked out Wiltord who released Anthony Réveillère on the right, but the full-back fired over. Benzema was in particularly lively form, showing no signs of nerves and twice going close to breaking through the Rosenborg rearguard. First, he just failed to control Réveillère's long ball, then moments later he lost his footing after bursting on to Pedretti's clever scooped pass.
Lyon were missing the considerable influence of Mahamadou Diarra in central midfield, and Rosenborg slowly got into proceedings. They had their first effort on goal midway through the half, Winsnes clipping a free-kick fractionally wide. The Benzema threat refused to go away, though. He almost broke the deadlock on 32 minutes, jinking past two defenders on the edge of the area before striking a low attempt just wide, but seconds later the French youth international did find the back of the net. Carew, playing against his former club, beat two defenders on the right and cut the ball back to Benzema who rifled past Espen Johnsen. The goal boosted Lyon who finished the half on top, but Ben Arfa failed to emulate Benzema as he sent a dipping volley over.
Lyon looked determined to add to their advantage after the interval, but Carew and Ben Arfa both had long-range drives well saved by Espen Johnsen. The game was suddenly flowing from end to end, and Rosenborg should have equalised when Helstad latched on to Frode Johnsen's cross but the striker directed his header against Vercoutre's left-hand post from close range. The visitors' luck was out again on the hour as Winsnes's dinked free-kick grazed the outside of the same upright.
Espen Johnsen then kept his team in the match when he kept out Benzema's cross-shot at full stretch, and the importance of that stop became clear moments later as the Norwegian side drew level. Øyvind Storflor's set-piece caught the Lyon defence unawares and Braaten stole in to flick a header past Vercoutre. Benzema was subsequently denied twice by Espen Johnsen, and this looked to have earned Rosenborg a point until Fred's last-gasp intervention.