[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] In France, they're now celebrating two miracles. Marseille's qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League followed a two-goal comeback in the last five minutes. But that was nothing compared to what Lyon accomplished. Needing to beat Dinamo Zagreb away and have Real Madrid win at Ajax by a combined margin of seven or more goals, OL went through with two goals to spare. What made Lyon's qualification all the more remarkable was that it trailed, 1-0, until the 45th minute. Things look so bleak that President Jean-Michel Aulas, having given up hope, didn't even bother to go into the locker room at the half as he customarily does.
Lyon trailed until Bafetimbi Gomis equalized on the stroke of halftime, and then the proverbial floodgates opened.
Gomis broke the Champions League record for the fastest hat trick with two more goals in the first six minutes of the second half and finished with four goals in 25 minutes.
Maxime Gonalons, Lisandro Lopez and Jimmy Briand also scored for Lyon to give it a 7-1 win. That was more than enough to advance to the knockout phase for the ninth year in a row as Real Madrid, resting many of stars in anticipation of Saturday's clasico against Barcelona, won, 3-0, in Amsterdam.
Lyon coach Remi Garde's reaction: "It's surrealistic."
Dinamo's defending was so nonexistent -- Gomis' second goal came almost straight off the Dinamo kickoff following Lyon's second goal -- you'd have thought the game was fixed.
As it was, Dinamo fired Coach Krunoslav Jurcic following the Croatian club's six loss in six games.
"The board convened straight after the game and we decided to part company with Jurcic because this was an embarrassing end to our interest in Europe this season," Dinamo executive director Zdravko Mamic said.