BUCHAREST (AFP) - Two goals apiece from French starlet Karim Benzema and Fred gave Lyon a 5-3 Champions League victory against Steaua Bucharest here Tuesday, as the visitors moved into second place in Group F.
Double strikes from Benzema and Brazilian Fred, and a potential goal of the tournament from Kader Keita was enough to see off a solid Steaua, who twice took the lead.
Lyon coach Claude Puel hailed the result as "magnificent" given that his side were 2-0 down after 11 minutes.
"We were up against it with those two stupidly conceded goals before a third in the same conditions a little before half-time," said Puel. "Many teams would have faded by we knew how to react.
"Even if we will once again talk of the team's defense, I would also like to underline the character and conviction of my team who were capable of overturning a situation like that."
It didn't take long for the game to produce its first talking-point in what was a horror opening 15 minutes for the French.
They went one down in the eighth minute after full-back George Ogararu burst down the right to send in a perfectly weighted pass to the unmarked Arthuro who headed past Hugo Lloris.
The French side, porous domestically having conceded five goals in their last two league matches, were a second down after just three minutes, following a glaring mistake by Lloris.
Romanian international Dorin Goian headed what appeared to be a weak and tame effort goalward, but the flat-footed Lyon stopper misjudged the flight of the ball as it limped into the net.
The towering defender, who scored against France in the recent World Cup qualifier in Constanta, could hardly believe his luck.
The visitors, who have never progressed past the last 16 in this tournament, needed a whiff of inspiration to re-ignite their challenge. They got it on the 23rd minute - and what a screamer it was.
Keita sneaked in to the box undetected and sweetly connected onto a Jean II Makoun chip to thunder a volley past a helpless Robinson Zapata.
That proved a fillip for the French, and they equalised 10 minutes later through France's top goalscorer Benzema.
The international peeled off his marker intelligently to nod past Zapata after latching on to a Fabio Grosso curling pass.
Just as Lyon were in the ascendancy, Steaua inflicted a brutal blow on the stroke of half-time. Ovidiu Petre again exposed weaknesses at the heart of the away team's backline to head the Romanians in front.
In a less frantic second period both sides cancelled out each other's attacking elan in a bid to stop leaking goals, a situation that helped Steaua as the game wore on.
Goian again tried his luck with a headed effort on the hour mark, but Lloris gathered this time and Lyon's deadball expert Juninho whipped in a free-kick eight minutes later but it spun out of play.
But the following two electric minutes completely changed the complexion of the tie.
Lyon substitute Fred hardly had his boots soiled when he found space just inside the Steaua box in the 69th minute to slot a side-footer past Zapata to draw level again.
Fred, recently booed off the field by his own fans during a league match, will certainly have silenced a few of his critics.
Then, two minutes later and with Steaua finding it difficult to regroup, Benzema clipped a delicate shot into the bottom righthand corner.
With the home fans beginning to make for the exit, Fred struck his second in the second minute of stoppage time to complete the rout. It seems Fred was having the last laugh now.
With Bayern Munich beating Fiorentina 3-0 in Germany, Lyon now move into second place.
1 - 0
2 - 0
2 - 1
2 - 2
3 - 2
3 - 3
3 - 4
3 - 5
for O. Petre 57'
for Semedo 65'
for F. Lovin 81'
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