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Win in Kiev puts Lyon among Euro favourites

KIEV, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon again showed they were among the Champions League favourites with a clinical 3-0 win in Dynamo Kiev.

The five-times French champions have a maximum nine points from three games in Group E and have yet to concede a goal.

'We made a step towards qualification for the knockout stage,' France defender Francois Clerc said.

'It's almost a decisive step,' said Alou Diarra, who started Tuesday's match in place of fellow France midfielder Jeremy Toulalan. 'If we grab some points at home to Kiev in two weeks, it will be done.'

Last season Lyon qualified for the knockout stage after four matches but failed to get past the quarter-finals for the third time in a row.

'Against Kiev our Champions League experience paid off,' said goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre, who pulled off a couple of excellent saves in the absence of the injured Gregory Coupet.

Despite having Coupet, Claudio Cacapa and Patrick Mueller sidelined with injuries and Sidney Govou, Toulalan and Tiago rested, Lyon were in a class of their own in Ukraine.

After being put under pressure for half an hour, Lyon went ahead courtesy of a trademark Juninho free kick.

Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom made it 2-0 after dribbling past three defenders and France midfielder Florent Malouda wrapped up the win with 40 minutes remaining when he headed in another Juninho free kick.

'Logically the beginning was tricky,' said coach Gerard Houllier.

'But when we had the opportunity we just wrapped it up.'

Lyon now focus on domestic duty as they travel to second-placed Olympique Marseille on Sunday.

A victory would put them eight points clear at the top and in the driving seat for a sixth consecutive title.