Football: Valencia ease to victory over lacklustre Lyon

Lyon's French midfielder Maxime Gonalons (right) reacts at the end the Champions League group H football match between Lyon and Valencia on Sept 29, 2015 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central-eastern France.
Lyon's French midfielder Maxime Gonalons (right) reacts at the end the Champions League group H football match between Lyon and Valencia on Sept 29, 2015 at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central-eastern France. PHOTO: AFP

Paris (AFP) - Valencia eased some of the pressure on under-fire coach Nuno Espirito Santo with a clinical defensive display to win 1-0 away to misfiring Lyon in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

The victory took Valencia, beaten by Zenit St Petersburg in their first outing, into second place in the group behind the Russians who won again 2-1 at home over Belgian side Gent.

Lyon carved out a number of chances in an open first half, but with some poor finishing still found themselves a goal down at the break.

Their best attempt came on 27 minutes when Mathieu Valbuena saw his blistering 25-yard free kick turned on to the bar by Valencia's French goalkeeper Jaume Domenech.

But Valencia rode their luck and opened the scoring three minutes before the interval when Sofiane Feghouli met a Pablo Piatti cross from the left at full speed as he ran into the box and his blistering shot cannoned off the underside of the bar into the net.

"I think that we had a lot of chances in the first half and then defended well in the second half and I believe the victory was deserved," said Nuno.

"The defence were well organised and played with soliarity. We managed to neutralise Lyon's strong points, especially in midfield and we've taken three points in a very balanced group so I'm proud of the team's work." added the Valencia coach.

In stoppage time at the end of the half, under-performing striker Alexandre Lacazette broke into the Valencia area, veered to his right and sent in a shot which Aymen Abdennour deflected over Domenech but the ball struck the underside of the bar and bounced out before Jeremy Morel unleashed a piledriver which flew high over the bar.

Then, with time running down, Aldo Kalulu laid the ball off for substitute Jordan Ferri, who seemed to have only to tap it in but inexplicably missed the target.

"This result now forces us to pick up points in our away matches," explained Lyon coach Hubert Fournier.

"It's a definite handicap to lose at home in this competition but if we can reproduce performances of this level, we will get results.

"Last season, we didn't play our best matches but we were more efficient, more than this season in any case. Looking at the match, we put ourselves in a position to win or get a draw but we didn't score." added the French coach.

Lyon continued to press after the break, with Lacazette's shot being saved by Domenech's legs, Valbuena blazing a shot over the bar and Valbuena's free kick headed narrolwy over by Corentin Tolisso.

Lyon, held 1-1 by nine-man Gent in their opening game, now boast a single point from their two outings and are bottom-of the four-team group.