From: Real Mardin on
Friendly Result from the City Ground, Nottingham (match played 28th
July 2010):

Nottingham Forest 1 – Olympique Lyonnais 3

(Adebola 34) (Gomis 8, 40)
(Briand 63)

There may only have been 7000 odd people present (out of a capacity of
around 30000), but what a pleasure it was to welcome Champions League
regulars Lyon to the City Ground.

After years of watching Forest play Division Two and Three level
teams, I was looking forward to seeing World class players in action,
in the flesh – and Lyon didn’t disappoint.

Indeed, it was encouraging to see just how many first team players
made Lyon’s first XI – keeper Lloris (who actually looked a little
suspect last night, but hey), Cris, Aly Cissokho, the Brazillian
Ederson, Miralem Pjanic, Gomis to name but a few of the men sponsored
by Renault Trucks last night.

It was a bright enough start by both sides, but Bafetimbi Gomis gave
Lyon the lead after 8 minutes with a long distance shot so powerful it
underlined the difference in Athleticism between Champions League and
Championship level players.

Despite going down, Forest held their own in the first half by playing
the kind of passing game fans at the City Ground expect to see.
Indeed, as well as from a couple of close chances, Forest could have
equalised a lot sooner than they eventually did had Lyon keeper Hugo
Lloris’ challenge on Chris Cohen in the box been given as a penalty.

It was ironic that the team who held their own via some nice passing
play eventually equalised when Robert Earnshaw, finding himself in a
half decent position in the Lyon box, mis hit his shot so badly it
didn’t trouble Lloris but instead fell to the feet of Dele Adebola to
tap in for the equaliser. It will go down as an assist, but it didn’t
appear to be intended that way. I couldn’t help but think at the time
that there was some suspicion of offside, but when you watch a game at
the ground you’re not assisted by video replays the same way you would
be if you watch on TV – unless you’re watching at a state of the art
ground like The Emirates (which sadly, the City Ground these days
isn’t) which boasts a video screen.

Six minutes later Lyon regained the lead with a goal as illegitimate
looking as Forest’s equaliser had looked fortunate. A through ball
finding Gomis one on one with Paul Smith in the Forest goal, the
Forest defence froze for what looked to be a clear offside, the Lyon
team froze, the crowd (what there was of it) froze and looked to
linesman and ref to intervene – the only person who didn’t freeze was
Gomis, who slotted the ball neatly into the net to put Lyon 2-1 up and
leave everyone in attendance bemused, perhaps even including some of
his Lyon team mates. This was a friendly match, however, and we were
watching a Champions League level team, so nobody protested too much.

Forest started the second half the brighter team and could have drawn
level once again if another decent looking penalty shout had been
given, but it wasn’t to be. Little over a quarter of an hour into the
second half, Lyon wrapped up the game when Paul Smith failed to deal
with new Lyon signing Jimmy Briand’s mid distance effort – Smith
really should have dealt with the shot which he seemed to palm into
the near post, but again, this was a friendly so nobody much appeared
to care. Some sarcastic cheering whenever he caught the ball from that
point on was as bad as it got for Smith, though he was substituted
later in the game.

Talking of substitutions, it was the wholesale substitutions that
we’ve come to expect from these friendly games that eventually ruined
the flow of the game and killed it off as a spectacle, but these
changes seemed to come about 20 minutes from the end and the general
consensus appeared to be that as fans we’d had our £15 worth by that

The only disappointing thing last night was the crowd, in two ways.
Firstly, the lack of Forest fans in attendance – come on people, yes
it’s “only” a friendly but this wasn’t Mansfield we were playing, it
was last year’s Champions League semi finalists. At £15 the tickets
were pretty heavily discounted……and it’s not as if the game was
televised….…obviously it’s not for me to tell people how to spend
their money, least of all in this age of austerity, but when, at those
prices, you only get 7000 to watch a game against one of Europe’s top
teams, you wonder whether some people even like football as a game or
if they just see it as a chance to shout, get drunk, shout abuse at
rival fans from Leeds, Derby, Sheffield etc and generally let off
steam on a Saturday afternoon.

The second disappointment was the positioning of the Lyon fans, their
positioning at the far side of the Brian Clough stand meant they
weren’t visible from where I was sat – I was looking forward to seeing
the energy and choreography of continental fans in person, maybe next

All in all, though, a decent enough game and a treat to see a team of
Lyon’s calibre in Nottingham. Thank you, Olympique Lyonnais for coming
to the City Ground and good luck to you for the forthcoming season.