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Imperious Lyon cruise past Kiryat Shmona

Thursday 6 December 2012 23.00 CET
Mahamadou-Naby Sarr is mobbed after his debut goal put Lyon ahead

Olympique Lyonnais completed a triumphant Group I campaign with a comfortable victory against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC which allowed Rémi Garde's men to advance to the knockout phase unbeaten.

With first place in the section already wrapped up, Lyon gave a number of youthful faces a chance, and it was teenagers Mahamadou-Naby Sarr and Yassine Benzia who did the damage with goals in either half. No side will fancy drawing Les Gones in the 20 December draw for the knockout phase after what was their fifth win in six group games, while the Israeli side ended their debut UEFA Europa League campaign winless.

AC Sparta Praha and Athletic Club had already been seen off at the Stade de Gerland, and the Ligue 1 leaders were again irresistible in the first quarter. Bakary Koné's low drive was cleared off the line by Adrian Rochet, before Benzia tricked his way down the left and pulled back for Michel Bastos to whip a shot just wide. Lyon then went ahead on 15 minutes when a corner was cleared to Bastos on the left; his ball into the area was powered into the bottom corner by central defender Sarr on his first-team debut.

The Israeli side fought back strongly and only Anthony Lopes, on top form in the home goal, prevented them from pulling level. Ahmed Abed was denied and Shimon Abuhazira's header was stopped sharply, before the forward was thwarted twice more by an excellent double save.

However, just before the hour, Kiryat Shmona's hopes suffered a terminal blow as full-back Mehdi Zeffane slipped 18-year-old Benzia into the right side of the area, allowing the forward to smash in his second of the tournament at the near post. Jordan Ferri drove wide late on, but the two goals proved enough to round the group stage off in style for the hosts.

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