Recently ejected from the Ligue 1 podium, Olympique Lyonnais qualified for the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France in pain on the lawn of Red Star (2-2, 5-4 tab), club of 3e division that pushed him to penalties.
The team led by Rudi Garcia, who led 2-0 at the break, got scared in the dilapidated and historic Bauer stadium in Saint-Ouen where its valiant occupants, sixth in the National, played their card fully into the last moments. But neither their loyal supporters, noisy from outside the enclosure, nor their goalkeeper, Raphaël Adiceam, decisive in the last quarter of an hour, could however resist the lottery of shots on goal.
How hard it was for the visitors, however… The Lyonnais, despite a strongly reshaped and rejuvenated team, had paved the way for an easy qualification in the first period thanks to Lucas Paqueta, scorer (28e) then ferryman for his captain Memphis Depay (45e). But they fell asleep after the break, which boosted the morale of Audonians.
As in the round of 16 against Lens (3-2), the Red Star has caught up and raised doubts about its prestigious visitors. Pope Meïssa Ba (61e) and Jimmy Roye, with a sublime direct free kick (74e), sparked the joy of their noisy neighbors massed in the windows of buildings around the stadium, and some of whom cracked smoke and even lit the sky over Saint-Ouen with fireworks. It was ultimately Julian Pollersbeck, Anthony Lopes’ usual understudy in the Lyon cages, who offered qualification to OL by pushing back Diego Michel’s attempt.
Quarter-finals on April 21
Failing to be flamboyant, therefore, the Lyonnais avoided the worst for their president Jean-Michel Aulas, present in the stands, before the reception of Angers on Sunday (9 p.m.) in the league. His players remained on a sad series of three games without a win since their qualification in the previous round against Sochaux (5-2), March 6 in the Coupe de France.
The Rhone club will know the identity of its rival in the quarter-finals, scheduled for April 21, Friday after the draw. Four other residents of L1 are still in the running, namely PSG, Monaco, Montpellier and Angers. Toulouse, current second in Ligue 2, can also stand in its way, like fans of Rumilly-Vallières or Canet-Roussillon (N2, i.e. the 4e division).
For the Red Star, a popular club founded in 1897, recognizable by its green tunic with the red star, it is now a question of throwing all its forces into the battle for the rise in L2, with a trip from Sunday… to the SC Lyon.