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Lyon edge five-goal thriller in Bilbao

Thursday 8 November 2012 23.50 CET
Lyon goalkeeper Rémy Vercoutre reacts to his team's second goal

Group I pacesetters Olympique Lyonnais maintained their 100% record in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League with a battling victory over Athletic Club in Bilbao.  

Goals from Bafétimbi Gomis and Yoann Gourcuff put Lyon in a commanding position at the Estadio de San Mamés, before Athletic hit back through Ander Herrera. Aritz Aduriz then levelled for the home side, but Alexandre Lacazette’s powerful effort assured Lyon of a place in the round of 32.

Athletic started confidently yet were made to pay for some early profligacy when Lyon went ahead midway through the first half. Gourcuff's fine free-kick from the right found Gomis who made no mistake, heading past Gorka Iraizoz despite the attentions of Andoni Iraola.

The Basque club continued to create chances, though could not find a way past Rémy Vercoutre, who was superb in the Lyon goal. The French team doubled their advantage moments before the interval, Gourcuff finishing clinically after Iraizoz had brilliantly denied Gomis and Lacazette.

Herrera's close-range strike soon after half-time seemed to restore Athletic's belief, and Marcelo Bielsa's men began to show glimpses of the flowing football that took them to the final of this competition last season. One slick passing move just before the hour mark culminated in Herrera being tripped by Maxime Gonalons in the area, allowing Aduriz to restore parity from the penalty spot.

Lyon were not to be denied, however. Just eight minutes after the equaliser, Gueïda Fofana robbed Iker Muniain on the byline and fed Lacazette, who rifled past Iraizoz at the near post. Athletic surged forward in search of another goal, but the visitors held firm to register their fourth win in Group I.

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