Lyon wear down Sparta to take the spoils
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 AC Sparta Praha
Bafétimbi Gomis enjoyed a mixed night in front of goal, but left with a smile on his face as the hosts sealed an opening Group I victory.
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Olympique Lyonnais got their UEFA Europa League Group I campaign off the ground as Bafétimbi Gomis scored one and set up another to help defeat AC Sparta Praha at the Stade de Gerland.
It looked as if it was going to be a frustrating night for Les Gones, appearing in the competition for the first time since 2002/03, with Sparta keeper Tomáš Vaclík in inspired form. However, Gomis headed the opener and Lisandro doubled the advantage before Ladislav Krejčí pulled one back for Sparta.
After an undefeated start in Ligue 1, it was no surprise to see the hosts dictate the play in the opening period. Despite one Lisandro effort, which the Lyon No9 volleyed over, the half boiled down to a battle between Lyon's Gomis and Sparta's 23-year-old goalkeeper.
After firing two early efforts off target, the French international forward was sent clear by Clément Grenier, only to shoot straight at Vaclík, before the keeper stayed large to thwart a chipped effort minutes later. It was the same result once more before the interval, as Gomis drilled at goal.
However, those misses were swiftly forgotten when Grenier's corner was powered in at the back post after 59 minutes. Moments later, the goalscorer's neat turn in the area fell to strike partner Lisandro, who stroked in from close range.
Grenier hit a post, before substitute Krejčí smashed in Václav Kadlec's low cross with 13 minutes to go to set home nerves jangling. The 20-year-old then fired just over Rémy Vercoutre's goal as Sparta threatened to steal a point, but Rémi Garde's men stood firm.