Lyon too strong for 10-man Benfica
© AFP

Lyon maintained their perfect record in Group B of  the UEFA Champions League with a comfortable victory at home to 10-man Benfica. The result gives them there third European win in as many matches.

Goals in either half from Jimmy Briand and Lisandro Lopez were enough to see off the Portuguese, for whom Nicolas Gaitan was dismissed before half-time. The win strengthens the French outfit's grip on top spot in Group B with Germany's Schalke three points behind them in second place.

Lyon coach Claude Puel was delighted with the performance and the result. "We are maintaining the form we have been showing for a while now. We are getting stronger and stronger and playing a nice standard of football," he said.

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus conceded that even with 11 men his side would have been hard pressed to contain Lyon. "This team [Lyon] may I remind you reached the Champions League semi-finals last season," said Jorge Jesus.

Lyon started well and dominated possession from the outset. Playmaker-in-chief Yoann Gourcuff struck an eighth-minute shot from 20 yards only to watch if fly over the crossbar. Lyon striker Lisandro was next to try his luck, two minutes later, firing right-footed from the left of the area which goalkeeper Roberto did well to hold onto.

We are getting stronger and stronger and playing a nice standard of football.
Lyon coach Claude Puel is delighted with his team's form.

In the absence of injured striker Oscar Cardozo, Benfica's best work up front came from Argentinian pair Javier Saviola and Pablo Aimar. Saviola had a shot blocked by Pape Diakhate. Shortly after Aimar blasted a shot wide from 25 yards. Benfica's creative patch of play continued as Carlos Martins pressed and had a 20th-minute shot blocked from distance.

However, Lyon changed the complexion of the game soon after. Michel Bastos fired a trademark shot which hit the post. The Brazilian collected the loose ball and crossed from the left; Briand headed the cross home from 12 yards to break the deadlock after 21 minutes.

Benfica's Gaitan was sent off four minutes from the break for a second booking after a silly foul on Reveillere - whose had himself been booked for a foul on the Benfica man.

Early in the second half, Lisandro forced a save from Roberto before Michel Bastos volleyed, left-footed, against the post. Another chance came four minutes into the second half with Lisandro somehow missing from close range.

Lyon scored their second after the 51st minute. Briand's effort from the edge of the box hit the post and the France striker continued his run to pick up the ball from the right and send in a cross which Lisandro headed against the keeper before hooking home the loose ball.

Briand and Lopez had further chances - the former hitting the post yet again - and Maxime Gonalons sent one wide. Carlos Martins tried his luck at the other end as the game gradually petered out.