A brilliant goal from Sofiane Feghouli earned Valencia their first Champions League Group H win as they beat Lyon 1-0.
Lyon pressed hard for an equaliser but defeat means they have taken just one point from their first two games following a draw against Gent in their pool opener.
Home coach Hubert Fournier had declared himself angry with his side’s 3-1 defeat to Bordeaux in their previous Ligue 1 outing and made a number of changes as he sought an improved performance.
But Lyon could not convert large spells of possession into goals, and Feghouli pounced on a first-half chance to score with a strike worthy of winning any game.
It was little surprise that the early emphasis was on defence and only Aymen Abdennour managed an effort on goal inside the first 10 minutes, flashing a header just wide from Pablo Piatti’s corner.
Valencia arrived in France having scored just once in their previous three games, and Piatti had a great chance to increase that tally when he struck a first-time shot from close range, only to see it saved by the feet of Anthony Lopes.
Mathieu Valbuena bent a wicked free-kick towards the top corner of the net where Jaume Domenech pulled off a great save at full stretch as Valencia were pegged back, but a second Piatti corner brought another chance for Abdennour, who went even closer as he crashed another header on to the post.
A well-worked move saw Feghouli fire in a shot that clipped the crossbar on its way over, but moments later Piatti broke on the left and teed him up to unleash a fierce shot that flew into the net via Lopes’s hand and the underside of the bar.
Alexandre Lacazette looped a deflected shot onto the crossbar at the other end, and substitute Jordan Ferri then missed a golden chance with the net at his mercy, but an entertaining half ended with the visitors ahead.
Having presumably felt the force of Fournier’s anger at half-time, Lyon came out fired up after the break, immediately peppering Domenech’s goal with shots, and Shkodran Mustafi had to make a brilliant block to keep Ferri’s attempt out.
Corentin Tolisso and Christophe Jallet both fired over the bar from close range as Lyon frantically probed for an equaliser, but Valencia always looked the more composed side, absorbing pressure at the back and breaking swiftly to create chances for a second goal.
The backing of the Lyon fans was relentless and loud, but their heroes seemed in too much of a hurry to deliver a goal, and the neat footwork of Lacazette and the dynamism of Valbuena went to waste as a number of attacks fizzled out without an end product.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.