Lyon spoil Neville's debut as Valencia finish third
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Valencia 0-2 Lyon
Maxwel Cornet and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Lyon got their first win in Group H and made sure Valencia had to settle for third place.
Article top media content
- Valencia drop out of UEFA Champions League and into UEFA Europa League
- Hosts unable to put pressure on Gent who nonetheless win to finish second
- Lyon's first victory in Group H courtesy of Maxwel Cornet and Alexandre Lacazette
- Disappointing debut result for new Mestalla boss Gary Neville
- The round of 16 draw takes place at 12.00CET on Monday
Olympique Lyonnais gained revenge for their matchday two defeat by Valencia and eliminated Gary Neville's side from the UEFA Champions League with a 2-0 away win courtesy of goals in each half from Maxwel Cornet and Alexandre Lacazette
The new regime at Valencia had looked like beginning with the pop of champagne corks as Neville's players buzzed with energy early on. Shkodran Mustafi hit the post with a thumping header and then, almost immediately, had a headed goal disallowed for an Aymen Abdennour foul as the cross came into the box.
To Lyon's credit they pressed relentlessly in midfield and Valencia's early control ebbed away. In fact, home keeper Jaume Doménech needed to produce a string of exceptional saves. The best two came first from Cornet – who was one against one with the Spaniard – and then via a superb fingertip effort which repelled Rafael's glancing header.
Before the 37th-minute hammer blow of Cornet making amends, came Lyon No1 Anthony Lopes's almost equally spectacular diving stop from Paco Alcácer's close-range header. Cornet looked anything but newly turned 19 as he subsequently teased full-back José Gayà with his close control and then curved the ball around Abdennour and into the far top corner for a brilliant breakthrough strike.
The final blow, delivered 14 minutes from the final whistle, was Lyon's breakaway second goal when Pablo Piatti, newly on the pitch, gave away possession and within about ten seconds – and only four passes – Lacazette had streaked away and finished with utter aplomb.
Key player: Maxwel Cornet
Where the match was won
As good as they were in their initial barrage, Valencia ran out of composure as they were constantly harried by Hubert Fournier's Lyon – particularly in midfield. Without the early injury to Enzo Pérez and Daniel Parejo's subsequent move from central to left midfield, would that have happened? It's hard to tell but what became clear was that Valencia required more time than they were being allowed to create dangerous situations in the final third. Something for the new coach to mull over.
Were there signs of how the Gary Neville regime will evolve?
Even on a deeply disappointing night, Jaume was preferred to Mathew Ryan and absolutely excelled. Centre-back Mustafi, out for so long, almost won the game single-handedly in the first few minutes and, once fit, will be someone around whom Neville can build solidity and leadership. The return of forward Álvaro Negredo didn't pay dividends but it will. The crowd believe in him, the other players clearly do too ... Now all that needs to happen is that Neville's most important player gets match fit.
Gary Neville, Valencia coach
I'm disappointed. Obviously we wanted to win the game but I don't have any complaints. The fans tried to lift the team and they were amazing, but tonight we just couldn't do it for them.
Hubert Fournier, Lyon coach
We are on a difficult path at the moment, but I'm really satisfied with the performance. Tonight we saw the energy needed from the players. That is what enabled us to win and it is really pleasing.