Mon, Aug 13, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Elmander's goal helps Toulouse defeat Lyon

AFP , PARIS

Toulouse forward Johan Elmander, center, celebrates with teammates Herita Ilunga, left, and Achille Emana after scoring against Lyon in Toulouse, France, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Johan Elmander gave Toulouse a welcome boost ahead of their crucial Champions League clash against Liverpool midweek with a last-minute winner against champions Lyon on Saturday.

Toulouse are embarking on their first ever season in Europe's premier competition and will host last season's finalists in the third qualifying round on Wednesday.

And Elmander's strike will see them in buoyant mood having quickly recovered from their opening day 3-1 defeat to Valenciennes a week ago.

"All week we worked on rediscovering our virtues, our desire, our solidarity, and that was the case this evening," said Toulouse coach Elie Baup, who was nevertheless worried that his team would struggle to recover from the match in time for Wednesday.

"It was very hot today," he added. "It won't be easy to play again in the same conditions on Wednesday."

Anyone hoping that this reverse may herald a changing of the guard in French soccer may be bitterly disappointed, though.

The six-times-in-a-row champions never gave anyone else a chance last season, almost wrapping up the title by Christmas, but this defeat owed much to the dismissal of Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom after just 34 minutes for stupidly spitting in the direction of the fourth official.

Until then Lyon had been the dominant force and there was nothing to suggest they will not canter to another French title this season.

Lyon were left disappointed at coming so close to holding out for the point, but ultimately coming up short.

"It's tough when you play 10 against 11 for the whole match and you concede a goal at the end -- it's really disappointing," midfielder Mathieu Bodmer said. "Toulouse put a lot of physical pressure on us. We did what we could, we tried to earn a point but we didn't manage it."

Brazilian playmaker Juninho tested Toulouse goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez from a free-kick on 19 minutes and on 33 minutes Karim Benzema fired narrowly wide.

But the red card changed the complexion of the match.

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