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Lyon's miracle: 'surrealistic'
by Paul Kennedy, December 8th, 2011 12:49AM

TAGS:  france, uefa champions league


[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.

  1. Gerald Laing
    commented on: December 8, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.
    Alot of chatter on the internet that the Lyon game should be investigated. Didn't watch the game myself, but still heard that Zagreb looked as if the laid down. Anyone that saw the game have an opinion?
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: December 8, 2011 at 2:26 p.m.
    "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." I didn't catch one second of this game, but I do have one question: If he wasn't in the locker room with his team, what was Jean-Michel Aulas doing during the halftime break?

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