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Lyon time it right to end Steaua hopes

Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 FC Steaua Bucureşti
Goals from Juninho Pernambucano and Anthony Réveillère near the end of each half handed Lyon victory and ended Steaua's chances of advancing.

Juninho Pernambucano delights in his goal
Juninho Pernambucano delights in his goal ©Getty Images

Late clincher
Steaua arrived in France with a new coach after Dorinel Munteanu replaced Marius Lăcătuş following Lyon's 5-3 triumph in Bucharest and gave a good account of themselves, denying the Ligue 1 champions space and restricting them to speculative shots for much of the first period. However, once again Juninho broke the deadlock with a free-kick just before half-time and Réveillère's last-minute effort means Steaua can now only reach the UEFA Cup, while Lyon know a draw at ACF Fiorentina on 25 November would take them through from Group F.

Benzema denied
Munteanu buzzed about his technical area during the opening stages, offering a constant stream of instructions to his players. The tactics appeared to be working well, with the visitors' five-man midfield limiting the room Lyon had to play in, although Karim Benzema issued Steaua a warning on 15 minutes. Racing on to Ederson's chip, the striker, who had scored twice in Bucharest, escaped Dorin Goian with a swift turn inside only to see his curling attempt beaten away by Robinson Zapata.

Lone striker
Pantelis Kapetanos headed Bănel Nicoliţă's searching pass into the arms of Hugo Lloris at the other end, yet there were few signs of this game producing the kind of fireworks on offer in Romania two weeks ago. With Lyon coach Claude Puel leaving Fred on the bench, Benzema was often isolated in attack, and wide players Ederson and Kader Keita were well marshalled by full-backs George Ogăraru and Petre Marin.

Trademark goal
It needed a forward run from Réveillère to unsettle the Liga 1 outfit, the right-back surging into the box before his strike was blocked by Sorin Ghionea. Ederson was the next Lyon player to be frustrated by Steaua's dogged defending, the playmaker firing a shot straight at Goian before Juninho showed his compatriot the way to goal seconds before the interval. After being fouled by Tiago Gomes 25 metres out, the Brazilian midfielder curled in the 40th free-kick goal of his Lyon career with a low delivery that swerved and wrong-footed a helpless Zapata.

Lyon rampant
Munteanu introduced António Semedo for János Székely at the break yet Lyon, and in particular Juninho, began the second period in rampant mood. The hosts' inspirational captain combined dangerously with Benzema, whose attempt was closed down; then, following a Juninho corner, Jean II Makoun's header was cleared off the line by Marin. Steaua's first moment of genuine danger arrived on the hour, when Gomes's first-time strike from the edge of the area was directed straight at Lloris.

Victory sealed
That attempt sparked a period of Steaua pressure and Ogăraru was unlucky to see his free-kick deflect narrowly wide off Jérémy Toulalan. Puel reacted by sending on César Delgado and Kim Källström, and that duo promptly combined only for the Swedish international to rifle wide. Steaua enjoyed plenty of possession late on but rarely threatened an equaliser and were punished in the final seconds, Réveillère cutting inside to fire into the top corner.