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Advantage Lyon in battle of France

LYON, March 31 – Lyon took control of their all-French Champions League quarter-final with Bordeaux after securing a 3-1 win in an entertaining first leg here on Tuesday.The visitors turned in an improved second-half showing after going in 2-1 down at the break but a Lisandro Lopez penalty in the 77th minute gave Claude Puel’s side a two-goal cushion ahead of the return leg on April 7.

Lisandro – who will miss the return leg after being booked – had put Lyon ahead in the 10th minute but Bordeaux, who lost 3-1 to Marseille in the League Cup final on Saturday, levelled shortly afterwards via a trademark header from Marouane Chamakh.

Michel Bastos restored Lyon’s lead and Lisandro’s spotkick means Laurent Blanc’s French champions must win by two clear goals at the Stade Chaban-Delmas next week if they are to turn the tie around.

Bastos said that it was a victory to savour …for the moment.

"Its a good result obviously, but they have an away goal," said the Brazilian international.

"We have done what we had to do tonight, but we are only halfway there and we have to finish off our task next week."

Chamakh, who is a target for English Premier League side Arsenal, said that it had been a disappointing evening and followed on their defeat last Saturday to Marseille in the League Cup final.

"Not the best two matches of our season, which has promised so much," said the Moroccan international.

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"However, unlike the League Cup final we have another chance to get back at Lyon and we have the away goal. An early goal next week and who knows?"

Lyon took the lead in innocuous circumstances, when a high ball forward was poorly cleared by Bordeaux centre-back Michael Ciani, allowing Mathieu Bodmer to fire across goal for Lisandro to tap home.

Bordeaux’s response was immediate and they drew level barely four minutes later, after Yoann Gourcuff cut inside his man on the right and bent in a fine left-footed cross that Chamakh converted with Cris floundering.

Cesar Delgado fired straight at Cedric Carrasso in the Bordeaux goal after haring onto a long pass from Bastos, and when the visitors broke, Yoan Gouffran drew a sharp save from Hugo Lloris with a smart backheel flick.

Chamakh then headed narrowly wide after Lloris failed to claim a cross from the left but Bordeaux’s usually rock-solid defence looked atypically nervous in the absence of suspended holding midfielder Alou Diarra and injured centre-back Marc Planus, and Lyon readily looked to exploit their hesitancy.

The home side re-took the lead in the 32nd minute.

An enterprising run from Miralem Pjanic took the Bosnian into space on the left and when his cross was misjudged by Bordeaux left-back Benoit Tremoulinas, Bastos cut inside before drilling the ball across Carrasso and in.

A frenetic first half gave way to a more cautious second period and as Lyon’s level dropped, so Bordeaux began to assert themselves.

Lloris reacted magnificently to palm the ball away after Chamakh threw himself at a right-wing cross just beyond the hour-mark.

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The visitors came inches away from a tie-turning equaliser with 20 minutes remaining when Wendel cracked a volley against the Lyon crossbar.

There were 76 minutes on the clock when Mathieu Chalme was penalised for blocking Aly Cissokho’s shot with a flailing hand inside the Bordeaux area.

Referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot and Lisandro out-witted Carrasso to take Lyon to within 45 minutes of their first ever Champions League semi-final.

Substitute Sidney Govou could have added further gloss to the result, but his volley flashed inches wide of the right-hand upright, while Makoun had a late header cleared off the line by Tremoulinas.



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