OL against OM. Another exciting game between these two rivals, full of aggressiveness and chances. And yet another game ruined by Ligue 1 referees. At this point, can we still claim ineptitude, or is it flat out corruption? I can’t really decide. Tonight, we saw yet another beautiful game marred by suspicious referee decisions, yet another to add to the list. Still, there were plenty of positives. Continue on for analysis and ratings.
Michy facing off against Umtiti. Photo courtesy of Michy’s Twitter: @mbatshauyi.
Steve Mandanda had one of the best games of his career. With Lyon mounting shot after shot, El Fenomeno punched, blocked, and parried all but one shot on goal, at some points flying through the air. This was Steve at his best. There were several moments when the ball would seem destined for the back of the net, only to see Steve keep it out with spectacular reflexes. Dja Djédjé had a great day, putting in offensive runs and important tackles. Nkoulou and Rolando both had awesome games, resisting every Lyon offensive with strong tackles and headers. Manquillo had a quiet night, playing well defensively. He is whistled for an imaginary hand ball, leading to the Lyon equalizer.
Amazing save from Mandanda. Gif courtesy of @#TeamOM_Officiel on Twitter.
Isla had a quiet day, not imposing himself in the midfield as he usually does. Romao was decent, offering a few passes and several quality tackles. He obviously isn’t Lassana Diarra, but he still had a positive impact. Cabella, despite his goal, did not play very well (in my opinion). His dribbling instinct, while offering counter-attacks, also cost OM valuable possessions. He often lost the ball in OM’s own half, yielding even more Lyon pressure. Zambo came in late in the game. Despite missing a couple passes, he had some strong tackles and had a bicycle kick attempt that wasn’t bad.
Nkoudou was electric tonight. The young man is growing into a lethal winger. He terrorized the Lyon defense all night, breaking in on the left flank and offering an assist to Michy that was later (incorrectly) called for offside. He is an absolute beast of a winger. Sarr worked hard but had a bit more of a quiet night. With Nkoudou soaking up a lot of possession, Sarr wasn’t in a position often to get the ball. Michy had an up and down night, though he did provide an assist to Cabella and score a (wrongfully) disallowed goal. Besides those two plays, he struggled to get involved in the game. However, he produced results, which is what counts at his position.
Cabella goal assisted by Michy. Gif courtesy of #TeamOM_Officiel on Twitter.
The refs didn’t just miss calls, they blatantly made up calls that happened to cost OM two goals. The sideline official wrongfully signaled offside on Michy’s goal, though he was onside by at least a couple feet. Then, M. Gautier called a handball on Manquillo when it was clear the ball hit the center of his chest. The ensuing free kick yielded Lyon’s goal. To add insult to injury, a brutal tackle by Morel (similar to Alessandrini’s red card against Lyon in the first leg), only earned a yellow card. All this under the watchful eyes of Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon president/owner), a man known to put a lot of pressure on referees when they face his team. I imagine he will reward Gautier with a “thank you” gift this week. That would be the polite thing to do given what we just watched.
Mandanda – 9/10
Dja Djédjé – 6.5/10
Nkoulou – 7/10
Rolando – 7/10
Manquillo – 5.5/10
Isla – 5/10
Romao – 5.5/10
Cabella – 5.5/10
Nkoudou – 7.5/10
Sarr – 6/10
Batshauyi – 6/10