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Lyon 3-1 Villarreal

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The last goal may prove critical.

Girona v Villarreal - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Olympique Lyonnais were much as advertised, defeating Villarreal 3-1 in an absorbing first leg in France. The first half finished scoreless thanks to the efforts of both keepers, but Villarreal had a bit of a letoff when Mariano Diaz was fouled by Victor Ruiz as last man. Mariano didn’t go down and the ref waved play on, but that was a clear warning as to what would come.

Lyon scored twice within four minutes after halftime through Tanguy and Fekir, both goals set up by the speed of Mariano and the Olympique midfielders. Pablo Fornals pulled one back, but Memphis Depay picked up a mishit ball from Ruiz and fired a curling low rocket that to be far I doubt 1 in 50 keepers stops. A great piece of luck and skill.

Villarreal will look back on a Fornals shot that basically hit the keeper when it would have been easier to score, and a penalty that wasn’t given when Bacca was just barged over in the box late on. Unfortunately the difference in pace between Villarreal’s back four and Lyon’s attackers was too much in evidence on this night.

A chance for Villarreal to turn the tie around at home, but they’ll need a lot of luck and an off game by Fekir and Mariano, methinks. Highlights are here.