Bayern cling onto top spot
Bayern Munich survived a second-half scare to secure top spot in Group F after beating Lyon 3-2.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 10/12/08 10:30pm
Bayern Munich survived a second-half scare to secure top spot in Group F in the UEFA Champions League after beating Lyon 3-2 on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side romped in to a 3-0 lead going into half-time after Franck Ribery and a Miroslav Klose brace looked to have wrapped up an away victory.
But a spirited Lyon fight-back, with goals from Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema ensured a barnstorming finish in arguably the best tie in matchday 6.
Both teams had already secured safe passage into the knock-out stages, but the matter of top spot had yet to be decided going into the game.
Lyon started the brighter of the two teams as the £100million-rated Benzema dinked a great ball into the penalty area to Ederson.
But the Brazilian forward seemed more concerned about being clattered by the onrushing Michael Rensing than getting a decisive header on the ball as the chance went begging.
Ederson somewhat redeemed his lack of bravery with an abundance of energy as the forward carved out a right-foot blast, but his effort spun inches wide from the left post.
It was a tempestuous start to the game with four fouls in the first five minutes.
English referee Howard Webb had no choice but to brandish the first yellow card of the evening when Italian left-back Fabio Grosso flew recklessly into Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bayern weathered the early Lyon pressure and somehow found themselves in front courtesy of some borderline comical defending from Lyon.
Jean II Makoun and Jeremy Toulalan made a royal mess of clearing the ball from their penalty box, and a deflected back-heel attempt fell perfectly for Klose to side-foot into the right corner.
Despite the defensive hash, credit must go to Ribery for putting pressure on the Lyon back-line.
A foul-packed 15 minutes ensued where a yellow card looked more likely than another goal - that was until Ribery came into life.
Luca Toni got a rare touch on the ball, and the Italian forward made the most of the possession by screwing a reverse-ball into the path of the 25-year-old Frenchman, who coolly slotted the ball home with a neat right-footed finish.
Ederson again showed his shooting prowess when his right-footed shot rattled off the post from 25 yards, but any hope of Lyon pegging Bayern back diminished when the Germans responded with a third goal.
After enjoying a healthy spell of possession near the Lyon penalty area, Ribery's cross from Schweinsteiger's back-heel found Klose and his shot into the ground looped past Hugo Lloris to give the German striker his second of the night.
The second half begun like its predecessor with Bayern slicing the Lyon defence open, but Schweinsteiger's pass to Ribery was too far behind for the Frenchman to convert.
The Stade Gerland faithful were rewarded with a lifeline on 51 minutes, thanks to Govou's tap-in.
It was no surprise when Lyon's best player Ederson shifted the ball onto his right foot and his powerful effort could only be palmed by Rensing into the path of Govou who duly obliged with the right-foot finish.
With the momentum well and truly swung in the home side's favour, Lyon struggled to capitalise - Govou smashing a header off the post before Mensah's follow up was cleared off the line.
Ribery, a constant thorn in the Lyon defence, gave young full-back Lamine Gassama a torrid evening, and the 19-year-old was booked for a rash kick at his compatriot.
Gassama was then hurled off for Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom as Lyon made a double substitution with Brazilian forward Fred replacing Antony Mounier.
But it was Fred's fellow strike partner who gave the French champions a second.
Benzema took full advantage of a deflected through ball and Lyon's No.10 expertly rounded Rensing and clinically finished.
It was clear that Jurgen Klinsmann was happy to settle for 3-2 when he brought off Klose for Andreas Ottl, but it almost proved a master stroke from the Bayern manager when Ottl's sliced shot went narrowly wide.
Claude Puel threw Cesar Delgado on for the tiring Ederson as Lyon went in search for another goal in the last 15 minutes.
Benzema and Fred both went close for Lyon as the match entered its final stages, but neither managed to find a third as Bayern hung on to top the group in what was, cliches aside, a game of two halves.
|Lyon||Team Statistics||Bayern München|
|0||1st Half Goals||3|
|9||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||3|