Created on 22-10-2008 at 00:00 AM
Olympique Lyon have confirmed their status as joint favourites to emerge from Champions League Group F, while underdogs Steaua Bucharest face an increasingly uphill struggle to remain in European competition beyond December. The serial French champions defeated their Romanian adversaries 5-3 in Bucharest on Tuesday night to go second in the standings on five points, behind Bayern on seven and ahead of Fiorentina on two, with Steaua bringing up the rear on a single point.
In an explosive opening to the game in the Romanian capital, the French outfit’s three-man forward line generated the first chances through Ederson (3) and Toulalan (5), but the home side scored the goals as Arthuro fired an eighth-minute opener, before Goian doubled the advantage just three minutes later.
Lyon strike back
The star-studded Lyon side soon settled and Keita pulled one back midway through the first half with a stunning volley, before Benzema headed his side level just after the half-hour. That was not it for the action before the break as Steaua edged back in front through Petre on the stroke of half-time.
Olympique emerged for the second period on fire, but Ederson (48), Benzema (49), Makoun (52) and Juninho (55) all missed presentable openings, while there were chances at the other end for Petre (56) and Goian (60).
Lyon’s attacking onslaught was finally rewarded on 69 minutes when substitute Fred, who had only been on the field for two minutes, converted Juninho’s lay-off to level the game up at 3-3. The French cracks refused to settle for the draw and took the lead for the first time just two minutes later through Benzema.
Confronted with the almost certain prospect of elimination from the competition, Steaua threw everyone forward in a frantic finish, but Fred completed his brace in the last minute to seal an ultimately deserved win in a thrilling encounter.
Steaua Bucharest – Olympique Lyon 3-5 (H-T: 3-2)
Steaua Bucharest: Zapata - Ogararu, Radoi, Goian, Marin - Petre (Ghionea 57), Lovin (Kapetanos 81) - Nicolita, Moreno, Semedo (Toja 65) - Arthuro
Olympique Lyon: Lloris – Reveillere, Cris, Boumsong, Grosso – Makoun, Toulalan, Juninho (Källström 87) – Keita (Fred 67), Benzema (Mounier 81), Ederson
Referee: Gilewski (Poland)
Goals: 1-0 Arthuro (8), 2-0 Goian (11), 2-1 Keita (23), 2-2 Benzema (33), 3-2 Petre (45), 3-3 Fred (69), 3-4 Benzema (71)
Yellow cards: Nicolita / Toulalan