On Saturday, I went to Stade Gerland in Lyon for the top of the table Division 1 Feminine game between Lyon and PSG.
The press area is huge over there, bigger than any press area at any ground I have been so far. For example, at Parc Y Scarlets the size is about a third of Lyon’s one.
Lyon were favourite as they had not lost a game for about 4 years in the League and were quick off the block getting early chances. Tactically OL were in 4-2-3-1 with Le Sommer on the right wing, Abily in the playmaker role and Necib on the left. Schelin the lone forward.
PSG were on the defensive and could not really get out of their half, they indeed produced 2 shots on target in the first half and nothing else. They played in a 4-5-1 with Horan up front very isolated when the ball was won back and a packed midfield to resist and battle Lyon’s superb attacking power. They did park the bus for most of the 1st half and managed to ride their luck in a couple of occasions where a penalty could have been given : Boulleau and Le Sommer colliding and the ball touching Krahn’s hand. There was also a penalty appeal for PSG but it was not given in a consistent manner by the referee.
So we were going to the half time break and PSG were offered a set piece on the left side from 35 yards. The ball was sent by Hamraoui in the penalty area. And…boom Georges headed it into the goal as Bouhaddi arrived too late to punch it. 1-0 PSG at half time. It was clearly under the run of play.
The second half started about the same with OL willing to attack then Patrice Lair made 2 early subs in the 56th minute with Schelin and Franco off for Majri and Thomis. 4 players moved position in the process.
A minute later Farid Benstiti put experienced player Shirley Cruz in for Hamraoui to add her experience and reading of the game to a team under a lot of pressure. Cruz had been injured prior to the game.
5 minute later on the 62nd Benstiti withdrew Horan from the field probably as she had just come back from the U20 WC qualifier from the Cayman Islands and was a bit tired. He added Kaci a central midfield player and put Asllani up front which allowed PSG to use her pace and threaten a lot more on the break.
Then Lair made his final substitution on the 67th minute which is really early replacing defensive midfield Bussaglia with center forward Tonazzi. Again 3 players moved position in the process Lyon tried to put more pressure on Paris but it seemed a bit disorganised and lacked a cutting edge. Although they hit the post with a Kumagai header. With 11 minute to go Benstiti withdrew Asllani and replaced her with Houara a defender/midfielder leaving PSG to play the last part of the game in a 4-6-0 system with no forward and trying to soak the pressure.
Unfortunately for them Dali was sent off for a 2nd booking 3 minutes later and Paris ended up playing in a 4-5-0 system for the last 8 minutes plus added time while Lyon whent in 3-0-7 for the same period of time with Renard up front doing an excellent job of flicking and heading balls. We saw Bouhaddi come up twice at set pieces to try to force home an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and PSG defended Fort Alamo until the final whistle.
It was a very surprising result considering Lyon had been unbeaten in the League in 87games and PSG were missing attacking players like Heath and Delie. They managed to take their chance on a set piece rode their luck in defence at time but managed to keep OL out something that had not happened for a very long time.
My player of the match : Benameur in goal for PSG who came big on all the aerial balls when Paris was under pressure in the 2nd half and was solid and reassuring.