Well, that was a strange one. Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain battled - in virtually every sense of the word - to a 4-4 draw at the Stade de Gerland, and this was a match that was every bit as interesting as the scoreline suggests. Both teams were heavy on the attack and not-so-heavy on playing defence, and that led to an absolutely enthralling spectacle. With Montpellier triumphant over Bordeaux their game, Carlo Ancelotti's PSG needed a win to retain their status as Ligue Un leaders, but it was the hosts, desperate to overhaul Lille and move third, who started out with all guns blazing.
An expensively-overhauled PSG defence looked as though it would melt in a storm of attacking football, but somehow Salvatore Sirigu avoided conceding in the early stages, allowing their glittering array of attacking talent to go on the offensive. Hugo Lloris pulled off a fine diving save early on, preventing Bakary Kone from scoring an own goal after Javier Pastore's driving cross, but the Lyon stopper couldn't block PSG's first significant attempt on goal, which came in the 21st minute.
Mohamed Sissoko won a free kick on the right, and the entire Lyon defence was expecting Jeremy Menez to swing in a cross. Instead, he pulled the ball back across the top of the area, where it was met with a precision effort from Guillaume Hoarau. Lloris had no chance, the shot fizzing straight into the bottom corner and Hoarau, who had scored a last minute goal against Montpellier to salvage a draw the weekend prior, was the hero again.
Lyon didn't take very kindly to going behind after such a promising start and threw bodies forward looking for the equaliser. Sirigu had to be alert to prevent Bafetembi Gomis from scoring just after the half hour mark after the striker had turned Mamadou Sahko at the edge of the box and shot from range, while at the other end former Chelsea man Alex nearly added to his tally of trademark free kicks, nearly knocking Lloris over with a howitzer of a shot after being teed up by Nene.
Then, suddenly, everything started going Lyon's way. A half cleared corner, conceded after Sirigu's fine save from Jimmy Briand, made it as far as Kim Kallstrom, who sent an aimless-looking floated pass towards the back post. The ball seemed to hang up for eternity, and when it came down it was met with a vicious volley from Gomis, blistering past the keeper and in for the equaliser.
And the hosts weren't finished yet. A PSG corner was quickly turned into a Lyon counterattack, and although it looked as though Michel Bastos had run out of options when he was forced to check back on the edge of the area, the Brazilian expertly picked out Lisandro Lopez's back post run with a phenomenal cross. Lisandro made the most of the opportunity, stabbing the ball first-time past Sirigu to make it 2-1. Within the span of two minutes, the game had been turned on its head.
Carlo Ancelotti's eyebrows were threatening to fly off the top of his forehead by this point, and they nearly achieved a new life as free-floating entities shortly thereafter when Michel Bastos capped off Lyon's sublime spell with an absolutely superb half volley. A corner kick went long, and the midfielder got into perfect position and slammed straight into the top corner from twenty yards out.
It looked as though the first half was going to end at 3-1, but a moment of madness cost the hosts just before the whistle. Maxime Gonalons had absolutely no reason to scythe down Nene at the top of the box, but cut him down he did, and referee Fredy Fautrel wasted no time in pointing (correctly) to the spot. Nene dusted himself off and waited for Lloris to commit before sliding the ball home to make PSG's halftime deficit a more manageable 3-2.
Of course, Lyon were hardly going to sit back and let their guests come at them. A good old-fashioned corner kick restored their two-goal cushion, with Gomis getting the better of Sissoko to head past Sirigu just before the half hour mark. At 4-2, they should have been able to see out the match comfortably. They weren't.
The ineffective Pastore, who had only just returned from a months-long injury absence, was immediately hauled off for a spare striker in Kevin Gameiro as Paris Saint-Germain looked to press the attack. The substitution paid off - Lyon's back line looked increasingly stretched following Gameiro's entry, and eventually the visitors were able to pull it back to 4-3, with Hoarau unselfishly laying off possession to an onrushing Ceara, who took advantage of a disorganised defence to finish first-time past Lloris.
There was plenty of time left for an equaliser, and one looked like it was on its way. Lloris was forced into some amazing saves as PSG pushed hard for their fourth goal, clawing away Nene's bouncing effort with his fingertips before flinging himself to his right to parry Thiago Motta's header away from danger.
The visitors were becoming increasingly desperate, and they threw everything they had at Lloris's goal during injury time, even stationing Sirigu in the Lyon penalty area. Finally, in the 94th minute, that pressure paid off, when Mathieu Bodmer's delivery was met with a superb header from that man Hoarau, who made it 4-4 with what was for all intents and purposes the last touch of the game. PSG's players and fans went into raptures. Lyon were rather less impressed.
Although it was a phenomenal fightback, the draw was not good enough for PSG to remain at the top of the table, with Montpellier now leading Ligue Un by a solitary point (if not for the efforts of Hoarau, it would be a four-point deficit!). A point, however, is manageable - the gap between Lyon and third place Lille, which stands at five points and could be as large as eight by the end of the weekend, looks far more daunting.