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Nilmar heroics put Lyon through

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

By Matthew Spiro at Stade Gerland

[1] Two added-time goals from substitute Nilmar sealed a dramatic win for Olympique Lyonnais against Fenerbahçe SK which ensured that the French champions qualified for the knockout stages with two matches to spare.

Goal rush

[2] Lyon fell behind to a Selçuk Sahin goal but hit back through Michael Essien and Florent Malouda. The Turkish side looked set to earn a crucial draw when Tuncay Sanli equalised 13 minutes from time but after Servet Çetin was sent off, Lyon substitute Nilmar flicked home Juninho Pernambucano's free-kick in the dying moments, before heading in another seconds later.

Caçapa injured

[3] Lyon were forced to make two changes from the side that won 3-1 in Istanbul on Matchday 3, with defender Lamine Diatta and striker Pierre-Alain Frau replacing injured duo Claudio Caçapa and Sylvain Wiltord. Frau started as the attacking spearhead, with support on the flanks from Sidney Govou and Malouda. The visitors also made two alterations, Serhat Akin being preferred to Pierre van Hooijdonk as Tuncay's strike partner and Selçuk bolstering the midfield in place of the injured Márcio Nobre.

Fenerbahçe press

[4] The home side were denied the perfect start when Servet's last-ditch intervention prevented Frau from latching on to Govou's low cross, but Fenerbahçe soon settled and began posing problems on the counterattack. Tuncay, in particular, was finding space and had already seen one shot saved by Grégory Coupet when he was sent clear on the right, only to be denied by Eric Abidal's strong tackle.

Selçuk strikes

[5] Essien headed a Juninho free-kick over before Malouda saw his near-post shot pushed wide by Rüstü Reçber. But the Fenerbahçe threat refused to go away and they took the lead on 14 minutes. Selçuk was afforded space on edge of the box and his low shot flew beyond Coupet's grasp and into the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection.

Essien hits back

[6] Lyon reacted immediately, Malouda seeing his shot deflected over from close range. The home supporters vented their growing frustration but they were soon on their feet as Essien drew Lyon level in the 22nd minute, volleying in a low shot after Malouda's cross had fallen into his path.

Rüstu saves

[7] The relief around the ground was evident but Lyon were issued another warning moments later when Coupet had to tip Tuncay's dipping shot over the crossbar. It was the home side who finished the half on top, however, and Malouda should have scored when he headed tamely straight at Rüstü. Juninho's free-kick from the right then rebounded out off the crossbar.

Malouda scores

[8] The movement of Lyon's attacking trio continued to stretch Fenerbahçe after the interval and they took the lead eight minutes in. Frau had drifted out to the right wing and when his centre was diverted goalwards by Marco Aurélio, Malouda was on hand to poke the ball past Rüstü.

Fenerbahçe pressure

[9] The Turkey goalkeeper kept his side in the game moments later, racing off his line to save at Frau's feet, but Fenerbahçe were soon applying pressure at the other end and Coupet was relieved to see Alex shoot wide after the goalkeeper's uncertain punch had landed at the feet of the Brazilian.

Tuncay levels

[10] Coupet left the pitch injured in the 72nd minute and seconds later his replacement, Nicolas Puydebois, was picking the ball out of the net. Lyon failed to clear a corner and Tuncay fired in from close range. But Fenerbahçe's chances of claiming a crucial win were dented when Servet was sent off for a second bookable offence before Nilmar's dramatic late intervention.

Nilmar (left) celebrates at the end of the match