Lyon come undone against Toulouse, trail Lille by six


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - Page 18

Olympique Lyonnais’ hopes of playing Champions League soccer next season receded sharply on Wednesday, after a 3-0 loss at Toulouse left them six points behind third-placed LOSC Lille Metropole in Ligue 1 with only six games remaining.

Lyon were bidding to bounce back from Saturday’s extra-time loss to Olympique de Marseille in the League Cup final, but another sterile performance saw them undone by goals from Pantxi Sirieix, Emmanuel Riviere and substitute Umut Bulut.

Meanwhile, victory for Toulouse drew them level on points with the fourth-placed Lyon, who now face a battle just to hold on to the consolation prize of a Europa League place.

However, Lyon can secure a Europa League berth by beating third-tier Quevilly in the French Cup final on April 28, while Lille must still play Montpellier Herault and Paris Saint-Germain, giving Lyon a glimmer of hope in the battle for third.

“As long as things aren’t over mathematically, I don’t want to stop hoping,” Lyon coach Remi Garde said.

Garde dropped Lisandro Lopez to the bench in order to match Toulouse’s 4-1-4-1, but his side fell behind in the ninth minute when Sirieix volleyed home after Mouhamadou Dabo failed to deal with Adrien Regattin’s cross.

Sirieix turned provider in the 22nd minute, shaping a cross into the box from the right that Riviere met with a firm header into the top-left corner.

Garde introduced Lisandro and Michel Bastos at halftime, while Yoann Gourcuff came on in the 63rd minute to make his first league appearance since Dec. 21, following a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury.

However, the substitutes did not make the required impact and Bulut broke the visitors’ offside trap in the 91st minute before lifting the ball over Hugo Lloris to seal Lyon’s 11th defeat of the season.

Marseille’s run of games without victory in Ligue 1 now stands at 11, after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Stade Malherbe Caen that left Marseille 10th and took the visitors a point clear of the relegation zone.