While waiting for Inter – Catania to start I decided to turn the dial to TV5 and have a look-see of French Ligue One with Lyon vs. Nice. I wasn’t disappointed as everything wasn’t going Lyon’s way early on and made for entertaining viewing, especially after the home side would need a come from behind win with a Benezma penalty in extra time and some Juninho magic on the other goals.
Nice had the lead early in the 3rd minute on a ball played behind Les Gones center defense where Habib Bamago was perfectly positioned to run unto leaving only the keeper to beat. The visitors would strike again with a second goal in the first 25 minutes, before Juninho and his deadball magic caused French announcers to cry out “très fantastique”. After winning a free kick just outside the visitor’s 18 yard box Juninho stepped forward and scored his first goal by cooly bending the ball round the wall of players and watching it dip into the top corner. Absolutely no chance for keeper Lionel Letizi, 1 – 2 Nice at the half.
Second half play was end-to-end but the score wasn’t equalized until the 71st minute when once again Juninho was called upon to weave his magic this time from distance (almost the centre circle area). Off another free kick by the Brazilian the ball was played with height and first looked likely to be headed or redirected at goal by a teammate but instead bounced once off the pitch and past the stunned keeper. The final winner for Lyon would come in extra time after a penalty was awarded for a handball in the box. Karim Benezma made no mistake on this one and Lyon walked off the water logged pitch relishing a great victory over their south coast rivals.
For any Serie A fans who are unfamilar with Juninho (very few I’m sure), and why the intrusion of French football on Serie A Talk, well this is the man who Andrea Pirlo calls his idol, the master at dead ball skills.
In the July edition of FourFourTwo Pirlo (the player the Azzurri look to for freekick perfection) explains his technique known as the “l’ascensore” or the lift, (the ball goes up and then dips quickly) was invented by Juninho. “I started watching how Juninho kicked and tried to learn” said Pirlo.
see all five goals in the second video link