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Lyon look to deepen Steaua's woes

Olympique Lyonnais put momentum behind their qualifying prospects in Group F with a thrilling victory at FC Steaua Bucureşti and will hope to repeat the win against opponents with just one point to their name.

Lyon's Fred celebrates clinching the win in Bucharest
Lyon's Fred celebrates clinching the win in Bucharest ©Getty Images

Olympique Lyonnais' first UEFA Champions League victory for five games has given a big boost to their chances of qualifying from Group F. A stirring win at FC Steaua Bucureşti in which they came from two goals down behind has put the French champions on five points, two behind leaders FC Bayern München, and with the opportunity to strengthen that position at home to the bottom team in the section.

• Steaua got off to a dream start in Bucharest on Matchday 3 as Arthuro and Dorin Goian put them 2-0 up after just eleven minutes. Lyon were level by the 33rd minute thanks to Karim Benzema and Kader Keita and, though Ovidiu Petre headed a third for Steaua just before the interval, the second half belonged to the visitors. Fred made it 3-3 and two minutes later Benzema finally edged the visitors' noses in front, though Steaua's challenge did not end until Fred scored again in added time.

• It was a splendid way for Lyon to accelerate their challenge having drawn against ACF Fiorentina and Bayern in their opening two fixtures. For Steaua, the prospects look bleak with just a point to show from three fixtures. They are the only team in the section to suffer two defeats and will need to win in Lyon to maintain a realistic chance of going through to the next stage.

• The Lyon defeat spelt the end for Steaua coach Marius Lăcătuş, who resigned after the game, saying: "Unfortunately, I could not bring out better performances." Dorinel Munteanu is his replacement, agreeing a two-year contract.

• Lyon and Steaua met in the UEFA Champions League group stage two seasons ago with the French leg ending 1-1. The hosts' place at the head of the group was already assured while Steaua were certain of finishing third regardless of the result. Nicolae Dică opened the scoring for the visitors in the second minute but Steaua ultimately had to settle for a point after Alou Diarra's equaliser ten minutes later.

• The teams for that 6 December 2006 fixture were:
Lyon: Grégory Coupet, Patrick Müller, Claudio Caçapa, Kim Källström, John Carew (Sylvain Wiltord), Anthony Réveillère, Sidney Govou (Loïc Remy), Alou Diarra, Hatem Ben Arfa, Tiago (Jérémy Toulalan), Jérémy Berthod.
Steaua: Cornel Cernea, Dorin Goian, Mirel Rădoi (Ovidiu Petre), Nicolae Dică, Vasilica Cristocea (Daniel Oprita), Bănel Nicoliţă, Petre Marin, Cyril Thereau (Valentin Badea), Sorin Paraschiv, Sorin Ghionea, Stelian Stancu.

• The game in Bucharest earlier in the section had ended 3-0 to Lyon. Fred opened the scoring two minutes before the break with Tiago and Benzema adding to Lyon's advantage with second-half goals.

• The teams for that 26 September 2006 game were:
Steaua: Carlos Fernandes, Dorin Goian, Valentin Badea, Nicolae Dică, Gabriel Bostina (Daniel Oprita), Mihai Neşu, Bănel Nicoliţă, Petre Marin, Florin Lovin (Cyril Thereau), Sorin Paraschiv (Ovidiu Petre), Sorin Ghionea.
Lyon: Grégory Coupet, François Clerc, Cris, Patrick Müller, Juninho Pernambucano, Florent Malouda, Fred (Karim Benzema), Eric Abidal (Anthony Réveillère), Tiago (Kim Källström), Sylvain Wiltord, Jérémy Toulalan.

• Those fixtures were the first between the teams and only the second time Lyon have faced Romanian opponents. In 1997 they overcame AFC Rapid Bucureşti 2-1 in a UEFA Intertoto Cup tie in Bucharest.

• The 1-1 draw at the Stade de Gerland in December 2006 prevented a wholesale series of defeats for Steaua while playing official fixtures in France. It was their eighth such fixture – all the previous seven were lost. Their heaviest reverses came in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round against Montpellier Hérault SC and the 1997/98 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round against Paris Saint-Germain FC. Both ended 5-0 to the home side.

• Lyon drew their opening two games and were grateful for a point at home to Fiorentina on Matchday 1 after again falling 2-0 behind. Two goals in the last 17 minutes – from Frédéric Piquionne and Benzema – rescued a share of the spoils for the French champions. They were pegged back themselves on 30 September by Bayern after taking a first-half lead at the Fußball Arena München as Martín Demichelis inadvertently flicked Juninho Pernambucano's long-range free-kick into his own net. The hosts responded after the break, Zé Roberto powering in a header to secure a draw.

• In their previous away game in the section, Steaua avoided defeat, drawing 0-0 draw at ACF Fiorentina. Two weeks before their campaign had struck a false note at the start as they lost 1-0 at home to Bayern, an early header from Daniel Van Buyten putting the Romanian team on the back foot.

• New Steaua coach Munteanu experienced mixed fortunes against French teams as a player, winning only one of his 12 encounters with Ligue 1 opposition in UEFA club competition, five of which ended in defeat. Munteanu fared little better with the Romanian national side, losing two of three matches against France in EURO '96™ qualifying and the final tournament including a 1-0 defeat in Newcastle on 10 June 1996.

• At UEFA EURO 2008™, Jérémy Toulalan and Benzema played for France against a Romania side featuring Mirel Rădoi, Dorin Goian and Bănel Nicoliţă. The Steaua trio also faced an Italian team which included Fabio Grosso.

• Jean-Alain Boumsong and Toulalan played for France against Romania in the FIFA World Cup qualifying tie in Constanta on 11 October while Karim Benzema appeared as a 37th-minute substitute. Goian scored Romania's second goal in the 2-2 draw while George Ogăraru also played the 90 minutes.

• Fiorentina host Bayern in the other game in Group F on Matchday 4.