Lyon boss Bruno Genesio was delighted to prove the sceptics wrong after a 1-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb set up a winner-takes-all Champions League showdown with Sevilla in a fortnight.
Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half goal was all that separated the two sides at Stadion Maksimir, while Sevilla slipped to a 3-1 home defeat against Juventus in the evening’s other Group H match.
The results mean Lyon need to beat Sevilla by two goals at Parc Olympique Lyonnais to have a chance of finishing second in the group and qualifying for the knockout stages.
“It will be great match against Sevilla,” said Genesio. “I can’t wait! I am very happy we have the chance to progress because many said we would not have the chance.
“We didn’t try to find out the result from Sevilla because we were focused on Dinamo.
“We could have played better, but Sevilla only won 1-0 here too. It was hard to break through Dinamo’s defence. They defended well.”
Genesio opted to start with Maxwel Cornet in attack after the 19-year-old scored the winner in a Ligue 1 victory at Lille on Friday, but he struggled to make an impact.
The breakthrough finally arrived when Genesio sent on Nabil Fekir and Corentin Tolisso midway through the second half, and the Lyon coach admitted his side were not at their best.
“We achieved what we set out to do, but we can do better,” he said. “I hope that we don’t have to regret not scoring more goals tonight.
“We knew that Dinamo would play very deep. We must do much better in the technical aspect. We were too wasteful, even if the pitch was not easy.
“But we must congratulate the players. We are glad to have been able to give playing time to players and to have been able to win.
“We have got our final game on December 7 at home, and there will be a lot of noise.”
Dinamo coach Ivajlo Petev praised his young side’s performance and shrugged off suggestions they lost due to a lack of experience.
He said: “I am happy with how we played and sad for the result, which is not a fair reflection of the game. We had some good chances.
“It doesn’t matter if players are old or young, but whether they know how to play football or not.”