Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Goalkeeper earns plaudits as Lyon reach semi-finals


Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris drew praise from both his coach Claude Puel and Bordeaux’s Laurent Blanc after a crucial late save sealed Lyon’s path to the Champions League semi-finals.

Lyon led 3-2 on aggregate with three minutes to play of Wednesday’s second leg when the France international produced a stunning one-handed stop to prevent Wendel from scoring with a header that would have sent his side through on the away goals rule.

It followed on from his fine showing in Lyon’s 3-1 first-leg victory last week and Puel conceded that his team were indebted to the 23-year-old.

“The match was decided by details that went in our favour. Hugo saved the match point,” he said.

Asked if his goalkeeper had been Lyon’s hero, Puel replied: “Yes. He’s been performing well since the start of the season. He’s at his level, which is phenomenal.”

A Marouane Chamakh goal on the stroke of half-time had put Bordeaux within touching distance of the last four for the first time since 1985 and Blanc identified Lloris as a key factor in their aggregate defeat.

“We know him,” Blanc said. “Lloris confirmed again that he has lots of talent and he’s part of an experienced team. His personal experience, over the two matches, played a big part in Lyon’s qualification.”

Blanc admitted in his post-match press conference that Bordeaux had ultimately been made to pay for an uncharacteristically error-strewn defensive showing in their 3-1 first-leg defeat at the Stade Gerland.

“If we have regrets, it’s from the first leg,” he said. “In the second leg, as I told the players, they played the match I expected from them.”

“We had planned for certain scenarios. The one thing we didn’t get was the second goal. But in the content of the match, we did exactly what we planned to do. Over the two legs, it’s in the first leg that the regrets are the biggest,” Blanc said.

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