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Grenier raises the roof as Lyon beat Rijeka

Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 HNK Rijeka
Clément Grenier's header allowed Rémi Garde's side to eke out their first Group I win, with the visitors haunted by a couple of near misses.

Clément Grenier celebrates his decisive effort
Clément Grenier celebrates his decisive effort ©AFP/Getty Images

Clément Grenier's second-half header secured a first UEFA Europa League Group I win for Olympique Lyonnais, with HNK Rijeka's hot streak in front of goal going cold in France.

The 22-year-old was the home side's biggest threat throughout, eventually finding a way past Ivan Vargić on 67 minutes when he darted into the area to get a head to Steed Malbranque's devilishly pitched cross from the left. Rijeka came into the match having scored 14 without reply in their previous two domestic fixtures, but Leon Benko and Mehmed Alispahić were left to ponder the cost of a couple of near misses as the Croatian club remain rooted to the foot of the section.

Mate Maleš tested Anthony Lopes from distance early on, but goalscoring rarely seemed a priority for Rijeka as they focused on keeping Lyon at arm's length. The French side found space early on – Vargić saved at the feet of Alexandre Lacazette and Grenier whipped a shot just wide – yet they lost their edge as the game drew on. Grenier produced a couple of hit-and-hope efforts which bobbled up awkwardly in front of Vargić, but that was as threatening as Lyon got in the opening period.

Benko could easily have started the second half with a bang, only to connect too subtle a touch to a dangerously flighted pass and watch the ball glance just wide. Lacazette then conspired to smash an effort straight at Vargić's legs when the Rijeka defence suddenly parted before him, while Alispahić did almost everything right at the other end, sending a rising effort across Lopes but ever-so-slightly wide.

Grenier's goal stopped Matjaž Kek's visitors in their tracks, however, and although Ivan Krstanović's introduction gave Rijeka more presence up front, Lyon did not falter.