Lyon in pole position after draw
Sun, 19 May 2013 23:27:00
Lyon snatched a 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at Nice on Sunday to keep themselves in pole position for the final Champions League spot.
Lyon overcame the second-half dismissal of Maxime Gonalons to pick up a point.
With just three points separating the teams at the start of play, Nice cranked up the pressure on their opponents when Dario Cvitanich scored from the penalty spot.
A red card for Gonalons then gave Les Gones even greater cause for concern but they responded immediately with a magical free-kick from Clement Grenier.
The result ensures Lyon remain third in the table and with a two-point advantage over the chasing pack ahead of the final round of fixtures.
With so much at stake for both teams, the first half was a tense affair and the Stade du Ray crowd had to wait 26 minutes for a decent chance, when Fabrice Abriel's powerful drive was cleared off the line by Lyon defender Bakary Kone.
Nice then had to weather a spell of pressure, during which defender Nemanja Pejcinovic came to the rescue to deal with Yassine Benzia's shot before goalkeeper David Ospina saved a right-footed strike from Mouhamadou Dabo.
And the home side were in front moments after the interval. Cvitanich was felled in the area by Kone before quickly picking himself up to slot the resulting penalty past Anthony Lopes.
That goal left Nice hammering on the door of the top three but Lyon came back fighting and Ospina rescued his side once more by palming away Bafetimbi Gomis' dangerous lob.
The home goalkeeper was at the heart of the action again on the hour, with Steed Malbranque trying his luck with a shot from Alexandre Lacazette's lay-off.
Ospina then made it a hat-trick of saves to once more deny Gomis, and it looked like it would not be Lyon's day when Gonalons' 74th-minute challenge on Jeremy Pied resulted in a second yellow card and an early bath.
But two minutes later Lyon got the goal they needed thanks to a stunning free-kick from Grenier, which found the top corner from 35 yards before Ospina could react.