Alexandre Lacazette, 19, was thrilled to get his first UEFA Champions League goal even if it was tempered by Olympique Lyonnais "taking their foot off the gas" against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
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Alexandre Lacazette said the joy of scoring his first UEFA Champions League goal was tempered by Olympique Lyonnais' failure to take all three points at home to Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
Already safely through to the knockout stage for an eighth successive season, Claude Puel's men began the night knowing a victory in south-east France coupled with a slip from FC Schalke 04 against SL Benfica would see them finish top of Group B. In the end neither result occurred as the German outfit won in Lisbon while OL needed Lacazette's 88th-minute strike to salvage a 2-2 draw against a resurgent Hapoel.
The teenage forward, who had entered the fray midway through the second half, was left with mixed feelings. "It's a pleasure to score my first goal in only my third UEFA Champions League game, but it wasn't a great night from a collective point of view because we didn't win," he told UEFA.com. "
We played well in the first half but took our foot off the gas a little after the break and allowed the Israelis to come back."
Lyon have brought through a host of gifted attackers in recent years and Lacazette provided further evidence on Tuesday that he could follow in the footsteps of players like Karim Benzema and Loïc Rémy. The French Under-19 international kept a cool head in scoring his late leveller – despite not expecting the ball to reach him.
"I thought Lisandro was going to control the ball but he decided to flick it and I found myself alone in front of the goalkeeper," Lacazette explained. "I was surprised but I just focused on hitting a good cross-shot."
The goal shattered Hapoel's hopes of stealing third place and qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. The Israeli titleholders had looked set to leapfrog Benfica when quick-fire strikes from Ben Sahar and Eran Zahavi shortly after Lisandro's 62nd-minute opener turned the contest on its head.
Nevertheless Zahavi, who teed up his team's equaliser and then notched one of the goals of the season with a stunning overhead kick, was keen to stress the positives. "
Even though we didn't qualify, we've really enjoyed the group stage and we're happy to have got some good results," the midfielder told UEFA.com. "It's been fun and we hope to come back next year."