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Roma lose dramatic game in Lyon

Mohamed Salah

Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma’s round of 16 first leg away at Lyon ended in a 4-2 defeat, in a dramatic match that saw Diakhabe, Tolisso, Fekir and Lacazette scoring for the home side while Fazio and Egypt international Mohamed Salah got Roma’s goals.

Lyon XI: Lopes; Rafael, Diakhaby, Mammana, Morel; Gonalons, Tousart; Valbuena, Tolisso, Ghezzal; Lacazette.

Roma XI: Alisson; Manolas, Fazio, Jesús; Peres, De Rossi, Emerson, Strootman; Nainggolan, Salah; Dzeko.

Following their convincing win against Villarreal in the previous round, Roma had another potentially tricky game Europa League tie, this time against French giants Lyon. The Giallorossi went into the game on the back of having lost 3 of their last 4 games. Lyon, on the other hand, have been in a rich vein of form, and have scored 21 goals in their last 5 games in all competitions.

Lyon appeared to be fired up for the game, after their fans displayed a spectacular choreo before kickoff. In the opening exchanges, they took an early lead after Fazio gave away a cheap free kick which was whipped across the box by Valbuena, and following a flick on Diakhaby headed home at the far post with what is only his second Lyon goal, in his debut season for the club’s first team.

However Diakhabe turned from hero to villain soon later as his lapse in concentration at the back led to a loose ball that Egypt superstar Salah latched onto, and after gliding away from the defence he showed great composure to slot the ball underneath the onrushing Lopes.

Locally-born Lopes kept Lyon from going behind on numerous occasions, with the standout save being on Strootman after another intricate piece of play by Salah.

Roma’s pressure would eventually pay, with De Rossi’s accurate cross finding Fazio, who, standing at 6’5”, was able to tower over the Lyon defenders to header past the keeper.

Genesio’s half time team talk must have inspired the Lyon players, as they came out into the second half all guns blazing, and they equalised within minutes of the end of the interval. Following a fine exchange of quick passes between Lacazette and Tolisso, the latter drove a shot into the far post past the helpless Alisson.

A draw was still a better scoreline for Roma thanks to the away goals, and so Lyon really started to push for a goal to put them into the lead, however they were constantly denied by Alisson who showed great athleticism to keep out Lacazette and co. At the other end, Salah’s needled pass to Dzeko almost created a goal against the run of play, but Dzeko’s touch let him down.

The ethnically-Algerian forward Nabil Fekir may have felt aggrieved not to start, and within three minutes of coming off the bench he made his case to the manager by scoring a stunning goal, after cutting the ball past the Roma defenders before curling the ball into the far corner, with a goal that was reminiscent of Lionel Messi.

Towards the end, Roma’s hopes of geting anything from the game except for the two away goals were quickly fading. In the 92nd minute, Lacazette scored the goal of the day with an exquisite half-volley into the top corner, to make it a final score of 4-2.

The result means that Roma have their work cut out for the second leg, and will require a 2-0 or 3-1 win at the minimum to progress. Should they do so, the draw for the quarter finals will take place on the 17th of March.

Match Reporter and Editor at Quantity surveyor from South East London. Support Leyton Orient and Inter at club level. Due to my mixed heritage I also support England, Egypt and Poland at national level. If it involves a stadium and a football then I'll watch it.

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