Trophee des Champions 2015
So, my first competitive game is here - the Trophee des Champions against Paris $aint-Germain. What a way to kick off proceedings, a chance to win a trophy against the team I'm actively looking to take down. It would certainly make a good start to my Lyon career. Let's get straight into the update.
We'll start with the Parisians, the team to beat in today's game. Starting in goal is the ever reliable Salvatore Sirigu
, and then a back 4 of new signing Kurzawa
, Thiago Silva
and van der Wiel
. David Luiz
has been put in front of the defence, sitting behind the midfield pairing of Matuidi
. Di Maria
start out wide and Ibrahimovic
is the spearhead.
Then there's my selection. This was of course back when I still using the 4-1-1-3-1 formation, so it was a bit narrow, but barring Grenier it was my best team. Lopes
in goals, Bedimo
at left back, a fantastic centre back pairing of Umtiti
and then the classy Rafael
on the right. Club captain Gonalons
was a walk-in starter at DM and Tolisso
got the nod in central midfield. Then, the front 4. Fekir
on the left, Correa
through the middle, Valbuena
wide and Lacazette
up top but I can swap all 4 of them through all 4 positions if I want to.
I don't want to be sensationalist or overly optimistic with these predictions. I think we can push PSG all the way and maybe nab a surprise win but it's going to be an uphill battle. Left back is a weak zone for me and I'm scared as to how Bedimo deals with Edinson Cavani. And then there's the constant threat of Ibra. I'm shuddering as I type.
Nonetheless, let's get into the match!
We tested P$G's defence very early on with a great counter attack that was only thwarted by some great glove work from Sirigu. I feared we were going to get carved up early but Lopes easily parried it into the path of Yanga-Mbiwa who initiated the counter attack. Valbuena and Lacazette combined for a lightning fast one-two which saw the former sprinting down the right wing with the ball whilst the latter stormed into the box. Valbuena delivered a whipped cross to the near post and a great change of pace left Lacazette one-on-one with Sirigu who kept it out. Still, fantastic work from just 2 players, carving up the P$G defence on the counter.
After such a promising start, I was disappointed to concede in the first 15 minutes and the way they did it was a real kick in the teeth as well. It was very similar to the chance we missed but Cavani just has that finisher's touch and I don't expect him to ever let us off. Correa had the ball outside the box but wasn't quick enough with his decision and lost the ball to Luiz. P$G broke away quickly from that, with Di Maria putting a long ball into the path of Zlatan down the left. He then went back to Luiz, out to van der Wiel, whipped cross to near post - goal. Cavani will never miss from there. PSG 1-0 Lyon.
I ripped up my notes as we went 2-0 down thanks to some shoddy defending from Henri Bedimo. Even I know not to lunge in for a tackle in the box when you have a 2-on-1 situation in your favour; the experienced left back should have known better and simply jockeyed. Di Maria's foul led to a Ibrahimovic penalty and the Swede rarely misses from the spot. I'm going to have to go on the attack now, no point hiding from the game. We've got nothing to lose. PSG 2-0 Lyon.
Angel Correa scored a terrific goal on debut to put us back in reckoning as we scored a patient, well built goal that was thoroughly deserved. Rafael won the ball back on the right flank but was cautious, going in board to Tolisso who went further back to Umtiti. The young centre back then sent it up to Fekir, to Tolisso, to Valbuena, who cut inside and rolled a subtle ball in front of Correa. The Argentinian took a touch wide before hitting it into the bottom right corner. Fantastic spirit from the boys to get one after 2 demoralising goals. PSG 2-1 Lyon
Well at the moment it's hard to tell who's game it is. On paper, P$G look to be the dominant team but a lot of their shots haven't been of substance and in terms of quality chances it's 2 apiece. Correa's goal gave us a shimmer of hope and if the boys want this win they can work for it and get it.
I'm going to take Henri Bedimo off; he's looked far from settled all day after giving away that penalty and doesn't look fit to handle Cavani and Di Maria. Jeremy Morel will come on to give us some stability.
Another good chance squandered by Salvatore Sirigu, who's had the better of Lacazette today. Correa picked the ball up wide on the left, then went back to captain Gonalons who passed it low to the right. Tolisso spotted the rampaging Rafael bombing forward and put it in front of him, with the Brazilian repaying his faith with a fantastic ball to Lacazette. However, the striker again couldn't finish, finding Sirigu only as we miss another chance to draw the game.
Beauvue into the game for Fekir. The Algerian winger hasn't done much for me today, blanketed by van der Wiel, so I'm hoping PatrickLFC is right and Beauvue can do some damage for Lyon. I've shuffled the front 4 as a result: Correa is now on the left, Valbuena in the middle, Lacazette on the right and Beauvue up front. Alexandre has been wasteful up front so I'm hoping he can do better on a wing.
Di Maria comes close with a nice dribbling effort but the shot lacked power and it was easy for Lopes to deal with. Wasn't a real big chance but could have been a game changer for the Parisians.
I'm regretting putting Beauvue on now because he's squandered our best chance of the game, putting an easy shot wide of the post after some fantastick work from Lacazette and Valbuena to get it there. The former did some hard yards to get past Kurzawa and deliver the cross to Valbuena who held up 2 defenders before giving the now free Beauvue a prime chance. For once today Sirigu wasn't getting to it but the sub blasted it wide. Very disappointed.
Maxime Gonalons has been sitting on a yellow for 20 minutes and with the game heating up I don't want to risk any send-offs. Even though he's the club captain, I feel it's the right thing to do and young Sergi Darder will now fill his role in defensive midfield. Lacazette gets the armband, now lets see if he can inspire the boys to a win.
The super-sub goal, so late in the game, so satisfying! Jeremy Morel, who came on at half time, made the turn over tackle and gave it to Correa who went 1-2-3 with Tolisso and Valbuena. Valbuena received it again and went long and wide to Lacazette who was in a good position with only Kurzawa to beat. Lacazette used his deadly change of pace, darting into the box and towards the goal line before crossing it into the path of Claudio Beauvue who scored! On his debut, no less. I feared I had stuffed up but it turned out to be a master stroke, Beauvue scoring the goal and Lacazette improving his game tenfold out on a wing. PSG 2-2 Lyon.
We're going to penalties! 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes and there'll be no extra time which is good because the boys deserve to put their skills to the test rather than slog out another half hour. To go from 2-0 down within 25 minutes against P$G to a 2-2 draw is a real effort from the boys and no matter how the shootout goes I'll be proud.
I'll hand you over now to my story's reliable commentator, Christophe Ricarrere...
PENALTY 1 - VERRATTI FOR PSG
"Young Verratti to take the first kick, it's imperative that he gets the shootout off to a good start for PSG... and he sends Lopes the wrong way! Good finish from Verratti, 1-0.
PENALTY 2 - BEAUVUE FOR LYON
"Now Beauvue the super sub to take the first kick for Lyon, he kept them in the game up to this point... Sirigu saves! From hero to villain, Beauvue's miss has put Lyon is a perilous position."
PENALTY 3 - IBRAHIMOVIC FOR PSG
"If Zlatan can score this one, it really hammers in the nail for Lyon. It'll be hard to come back from and he's already scored from the spot today.... Lopes dives the right way but he's too low! Ibrahimovic has powered the shot into the top right corner and Lopes realised it too late, PSG are in control, 2-0."
PENALTY 4 - VALBUENA FOR LYON
"They say he's the best man in a shootout for Lyon, Mathieu Valbuena, and he'll need to step up here for this kick or else Lopes needs a herculean effort... SIRIGU AGAIN! He has saved this game for PSG on 4 occasions and now it's his team's trophy to lose!"
PENALTY 5 - KURZAWA FOR PSG
"A lot of pressure on Kurzawa, if he kicks this it's all but over... straight down the middle! Lopes dived to his left but Kurzawa won the mental battle and just powered it home. It's 3-0 now and Lyon need perfection to win it from here. 4 consecutive successful kicks and 4 saves or misses from P$G."
PENALTY 6 - CORREA FOR LYON
"Correa started the comeback for Lyon and he needs to do it again with this kick, it's not impossible but it is highly unlikely. The youngster just needs to focus on the now. Here he goes... SIRIGU HAS SAVED IT AGAIN AND WON THE TROPHY FOR PSG!!!!"