|I||Sparta Praha||19:00||H. Kiryat Shmona|
Jimmy Briand scored with four minutes left to maintain Olympique Lyonnais' 100% start to Group I with a 2-1 defeat of Athletic Club.
Dramatic victors on matchday two, Lyon produced a more sober but no less effective display against last season's runners-up. Although Ibai Gómez's sweetly struck equaliser 11 minutes from time cancelled out Lisandro's early second-half opener, Briand pounced in a frenetic finale to move Rémi Garde's men within sight of the knockout phase. As for Athletic, they still possess a single point after three games.
Yet to recapture the form which took them to last season's final, the visitors nonetheless gave tantalising glimpses here of how quickly they can unravel opponents. Aritz Aduriz twice drew saves from Rémy Vercoutre after the hosts' defence had been split asunder. Steed Malbranque provided the home side's riposte, Gorka Iraizoz's full-length stop denying him a rare goal.
Lisandro is distinctly more prolific, and he maintained his ratio of a goal virtually every other game in this competition when he met Anthony Réveillère's cross with a very deliberate glancing header. However, rather than reassure the hosts, that opening effort merely appeared to unsettle them.
Almost immediately, Andoni Iraola broke and rounded Vercoutre, only to find the angle too narrow. Markel Susaeta then should have done better when clean through in a central position, but instead he sent an attempted lob well wide. An equaliser was coming, though, and it owed much to Fernando Llorente's strength and unerring control, which allowed him to tee up Gómez to shoot crisply across Vercoutre.
Having levelled, Athletic were unable to keep Lyon at bay, and when Gueïda Fofana's drive was pushed out by Iraizoz, Briand clipped in to earn his team a third successive triumph.
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