Lyon and Nice met on Saturday at the Groupama Stadium in Décines-Charpieu (Metropolis of Lyon) and revived French football during a friendly match won behind closed doors by the OL (1-0), three and a half months after stopping by Ligue 1.
The Lyon goal was scored at the start of the game by Houssem Aouar who transformed a penalty awarded for a foul by the Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez on Moussa Dembélé, from the 4th minute.
Three days after a first training gallop against the Swiss amateurs of Port-Valais beaten 12-0 at Evian-les-Bains (Haute-Savoie) on Wednesday, the Lyonnais rediscovered their 60,000-seat enclosure located in the heart of an ever-evolving site, with multiple constructions, now called OL Vallée. But only 250 people were present, players and management of the two teams included, the ball pickers, a few accredited journalists and the technicians of Canal Plus who broadcast the meeting with instructions on social distancing and wearing the compulsory mask.  OL President Jean-Michel Aulas was absent and the “President Box” even remained closed.
The teams were not presented by the usual announcer even if they lined up timidly in front of the empty stands of the main gallery.
And after Aouar's goal, the musical comma (or jingle ) was not launched at full speed as it is customary to energize the supporters.
“It has been a long time since we had faced a Ligue 1 opponent. It was good to show our level and we we were physically good after four weeks of training, “admitted OL central back Marcelo Guedes.” Playing on a large field, even without an audience, is very positive. We felt a little adrenaline, like a first game. It’s good, “said Nice defender Dante.” There is a lack of atmosphere. We accepted this match to get used to it. You have to put yourself in the right conditions in order to be ready for the start of the championship, “commented the Aiglons coach Patrick Vieira.
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For Nice, it was a question of 'A recovery match in which the latter made many changes at halftime, including the entry into play of striker Amine Gouiri, transferred this week from Lyon to the Aiglons for 7 million euros. Overall, OL displayed better cohesion and superior technical mastery.
The mindset of Rudi Garcia's men is already turned towards the goal of beating Paris SG in the Cup final of the League, on July 31 at the Stade de France, in order to snatch a place in the Europa League which stole from them in the league (7th).
While he had only used twelve players on Wednesday against Port-Valais, Garcia made a large turn of its workforce, especially during the second period with in particular the entry into play, in the 66th minute, Memphis Depay who had scored four goals Wednesday, then the rookie Tino Kadewere just after. The Dutchman, like Jeff Reine-Adelaïde, had injured a knee on this field, on December 15 against Rennes, before being operated on a few days later.
With the numerous changes of part and d other, the pace dropped in intensity after half-time but, overall, OL logically showed a bit of a physical lead over their opponent, as Vieira admitted.
“Ca lacked rhythm on both sides but the players were involved. It was a competitive match because we have to prepare like this for our next two official matches, “said Garcia. “We absolutely must also prepare for this kind of atmosphere, that we show that we have a team and that we encourage each other,” he insisted.
The workforce of Lyon is now going benefit from a week of vacation before resuming training. OL will return to Groupama Stadium from July 16-18 for a tournament in which they will face the Scottish clubs of Celtic Glasgow and Glasgow Rangers. These two teams, which will not play against each other, will also be opposed to Nice.
Lyon will then go to Belgium, there too a country whose championship had chosen not to resume after the cut, as in Scotland, to measure La Gantoise on July 22 and then, probably, in Anderlecht on July 24.
fjt / dlo / bvo
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