Created on 18-04-2010 at 00:00 AM
By Sunday, seasoned defender Cris was smiling again. After a sleepless night, a 600 km bus trip and a gentle warm-down, the Olympique Lyon skipper was in good spirits at the morning news conference. “Seven hours on the bus wasn’t easy. We didn’t sleep,” he explained after returning from the away trip to Bordeaux, “but it was a good chance for a chat.”
Cris and his team-mates will be back on the bus again soon for the 750 km journey to Munich, venue for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern. The French party is unable to fly due to the current restrictions caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. The first stage of the trip takes the team from Lyon to Zurich, and then on to Munich on Tuesday. “It’ll be a total of ten hours on the bus, which is hard,” said Cris, “but there’s no choice and we have to accept it.”
OL were also forced to accept Saturday evening’s 2-2 draw with Girondins Bordeaux in the third meeting between the clubs in the space of three weeks – they met in the Champions League last sixteen. The result effectively knocks both sides out of the Ligue 1 title race. With five to play, Lyon are nine points off leaders Marseille, with champions Bordeaux a daunting 11 points adrift.
Lyon, who have drawn 11 times in the league, will now focus their domestic energies on second spot and a guaranteed berth in next term’s Champions League. Claude Puel’s side are four points off that target at present.
The Lyon boss was left with mixed feelings after Saturday’s stalemate. “On the one hand, it’s hard to swallow, because we had the better chances, especially after half-time,” said Puel, “but on the other hand, it’s a good point, because we’ve come back twice.”
The 32,284 crowd at the Chaban-Delmas stadium saw Olympique twice fall behind to Chamakh (25) and Plasil (62), but Ederson (25) and Cris (71) levelled. Emotions boiled over at the end, as Lyon’s Réveillère and Girondins pair Trémoulinas and Jussiê all saw red cards.
“It was borderline violence,” fumed Réveillère after a meaty scrap. “It was a pitched battle,” agreed Cris. Puel chose to start without top scorer Lisandro Lopez, who only came on in the second period along with Cesar Delgado.
To make matters worse, Lopez took a knock on the ankle and missed Sunday’s light workout. Puel described the striker as “doubtful” for the clash in Munich. Centre-half Jean-Alain Boumsong has been out for two weeks with a calf strain, while Jean II Makoun (groin), Mathieu Bodmer (back) and Dejan Lovren (knee) were all absent in Bordeaux. However, dressing room morale was high, insisted Cris. “We never gave up yesterday, and that’s good for our confidence.”
Lyon line-up against Bordeaux:
Lloris - Réveillère, Cris, Toulalan, Cissokho - Ederson (Grenier 80), Källström, Pjanic - Govou (Lopez 46), Gomis (Delgado 66), Bastos