Draw not enough for Reds as progression snatched away
By Mark Allaway
Wednesday 04 Nov 2009 21:45:00
Browse all Match Reports articles

Liverpool failed in their last ditch attempt to stay in the Champions League with a 1-1 draw at Lyon, with Lisandro Lopez's injury time goal ruling out Ryan Babel's drive.

Lopez pounced on defensive indecision to cooly slot past Pepe Reina in the 91st minute after substitute Babel's cut in and powerful drive had got the travelling Reds fans dreaming.

The draw still means there is a mathematical possibility of progression but Fiorentina need just two points from their last two games to progress.



The match was a simple must win with the possibility of crashing out of europe at the group stage if the Reds failed to win.

And the pressure showed in a tense opening 20 minutes- chances went astray for Lyon's Bafemi Gomis and Michel Bastos.

Fernando Torres, still failing to appear 100% fit, side footed straight at Hugo Lloris from Emilano Insua’s cut back as the Reds got into the game.

Lloris was called upon again and responded with a fine save from Dirk Kuyt’s improvision on 17 minutes- picking himself off the ground to flick a volley goalwards, only for the French international to acrobatically tip the shot over.

Jamie Carragher was struggling to adapt to full-back as Rafa Benitez tried to respond to a side blighted by injuries, but he could not be faulted for effort.

Lyon were put at a disadvantage after having to take off Anthony Reveillere and Miralem Pjanic due to injury in the first half.

Javier Mascherano then created a fine chance- quickly taking a free kick deep in the Reds half that ran through to Andriy Voronin.

The Ukrainian found himself one-on-one with Lloris and hit it straight at the keeper with the left hand corner gaping.

The half petered out after the chance as the visitors began to dwell on Voronin's missed oppurtunity.

Insua effectively ends a Bastos run, whilst on the opposite side Kuyt was a real threat on the right.

In the second half Insua got away with an early foul but Lyon continued to press, moving the ball far better and sub Ederson lofted over from the egde of the box.

Bastos had the next chance, heading over from an Aly Cissokho cross, Kim Kallstrom then put a free-kick over the bar.

Liverpool's failure to clear from their own resulting goal kick lead to some real panic as Sotirios Kyrgiakos was caught out of position, the defence failed to clear, Pepe Reina couldn’t claim and Lyon were gifted a corner.

The chance came to nothing but was a sign of nerves setting in, Voronin was fading, Torres uninvolved- Daniel Agger's performance at back was a small positive.

Ryan Babel was introduced on 67 mins and was part of the move that saw a surging run from Agger, leading to two chances for Lucas, the first an air shot.

The second was a accurate clip that was well saved by Lloris- Kuyt then seeing his overhead kick cleared off the line.

Kyrgiakos was bailed out for his mistake by Reina on 73 mins and with Lyon surging on the counter Lisandro Lopex tried to curl in from the right but put his effort wide.

With pressure mounting and time running out though, the ball broke to Babel on the edge of the box, in an instance he found space and snappeda s hot goalwards.

The ball stayed at a perfect height, and its speed and power gave Lloris no chance.

The relief was evident- so much so that Bbael's next action was less of a frustration- the Dutchman hammering a free kick-kick so far wide it went out for a Lyon throw.

Rafa Benitez then set his thoughts to the future and protected star striker Fernando Torres by replacing him with David N'Gog.

Yossi Benayoun played the Frenchman in almost straight away but Lloris improvised and rushed out to clear with his feet.

The hard work was undone though as success drew near the defence simply failed to deliver as Lopez shrugged off his team mate and slotted past Reina- who got a hand to the shot.

The goal was a bitter pill to swallow so close to the end, and a tight draw was just not enough.


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