PLAYER RATINGS | Lyon 4-3 Brest: Last-gasp Ainsley Maitland-Niles penalty sees Lyon edge seven-goal thriller and reach the European places

Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Round 29, 14/04/24

It was the game that had everything. Olympique Lyonnais edged a seven-goal thriller (4-3) against Stade Brestois thanks to Ainsely Maitland-Niles’ penalty in the 106th minute, which lifts OL up to seventh, the equivalent of a place in next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League.

A weekend of quality not quantity in Ligue 1. Whilst three matches have been postponed in Round 29, Lyon and Brest served up a high-quality encounter. Kamory Doumbia’s long-range effort was the first shot of the match and it was far from his last, however, it was Lyon who took the lead against Les Ty Zéfs. The opener came courtesy of Corentin Tolisso, who latched onto a loose ball in the box, controlled and lashed a half-volley past Marco Bizot. 

Former Lyon forward Del Castillo turns game on its head

Brest are second for a reason and they showed character and a reaction. Doumbia, a thorn in Lyon’s side throughout the first half, worked space in the box before unleashing an acrobatic volley towards Anthony Lopes, who got a crucial touch to turn it onto the bar.

Les Gones then went close to doubling their lead through Malick Fofana, whose curled effort was turned around the corner by Bizot. OL were ultimately grateful to go into the break in the lead after Martin Satriano’s drive required Lopes to once again tip onto the bar and over. 

The chances came thicker and faster in the second half. Tolisso tested Bizot with a long-range effort that required tipping over before Steve Mounié forced Lopes into a good stop. Former Lyon forward Romain Del Castillo went close before he did make his impact on the game in a chaotic ten minutes of football. 

He first set up Mounié to head home with a sumptuous in-swinging set piece before then getting on the scoresheet himself with a direct free-kick from the edge of the box. It looked like the former Gone would come back to haunt his former side after he was set up by Doumbia to double his account on the night, but it took just seconds for Lyon to respond. 

Captain Alexandre Lacazette lashed a volley home and there was a sense of inevitability that parity would be restored. The equalising goal came through Nicolas Tagliafico. The Argentinian was fed by Rayan Cherki, who made an influential appearance off the bench, driving a finish from across the box, past Bizot and into the bottom corner. 

Red cards and altercations

The story didn’t end there. Pierre Lees-Melou and Tagliafico both received second yellows and therefore red cards for their part in an altercation that was initiated by the latter. This crazy game looked to be heading towards a draw but there was drama at the death.

Bizot clumsily thundered into Lacazette. The referee didn’t initially point to the spot but was asked to consult VAR. In the meantime, Nemanja Matić went head to head with Hugo Magnetti, with both players receiving a yellow before the former then squared up with Brest manager Eric Roy. 

All the while, Lacazette remained floored and needed stretching off the pitch. When the referee did then point to the spot, there was a question of who would take the spot kick and the responsibility fell to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who in the 16th minute of added time, kept his cool, sent Bizot the wrong way and earned Lyon a crucial three points in their quest for European football.

OL are now seventh, which, should they keep their current standing, would mean that they would secure some form of European football for next season, regardless of the result of their Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain. Brest remain second but can be caught by AS Monaco, should they win their game in hand. 

Lyon player ratings

Anthony Lopes – 7

He may have conceded three but he stopped many more. He saved two efforts onto the bar with spectacular finger-tip saves and also kept Mounié out. 

Nicolas Tagliafico – 5
Jake O’Brien – 5
Clinton Mata – 5
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7

Highly influential with his long-range distribution and runs in the first half, he nonetheless faded out of the game for periods of the second half. However, he showed incredible composure to slot home his penalty in what was one of the final kicks of the game. Ice cold.

Corentin Tolisso – 6
Nemanja Matić – 5
Maxence Caqueret – 6
Malick Fofana – 5
Alexandre Lacazette – 6
Saïd Benrahma – 4

Brest player ratings

Marco Bizot – 6

A match-defining performance from the Dutchman. Despite conceding three goals prior to second-half extra-time, bar Del Castillo, he was the standout player for Brest, making a number of big saves. His performance was, however, marred by his last-minute intervention, which handed Lyon the chance to win the game, which they duly did.

Bradley Locko – 5
Lilian Brassier – 4
Brendan Chardonnet – 5
Julien Le Cardinal – 6
Kamory Doumbia – 7

Doumbia found pockets of space with his intelligent movement, which was rarely tracked. He was creative in between the lines and didn’t lack the confidence to try his luck on goal. His spectacular acrobatic volley would have made a great addition in a highlights reel if not for Lopes’ save.

Pierre Lees-Melou – 4
Hugo Magnetti – 6
Steve Mounié – 6
Martín Satriano – 4
Romain Del Castillo – 9

An incredible performance against his former side that risks being forgotten due to the larger context. In a chaotic match, he was the standout player, turning the game completely on its head in the space of 10 minutes with three goal contributions. A threat without, his individual performance was not enough to earn his side even a point.

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

More European Football News