Lyon stuns Manchester City to reach Champions League semi-finals

Lyon stuns Manchester City to reach Champions League semi-finals


The French side got off to a perfect start, stifling Manchester City’s attacking play and finally taking the lead after 24 minutes thanks to Maxwel Cornet’s inventive finish just outside the box.

In the second half, the English increased the pressure, and the pressure finally said it, as Kevin de Bruyne quietly came home to equalize the score before substitute Moussa Dembélé scored two goals to pass Lyon through.

Lyon will face Bayern Munich in the semi-finals on Wednesday, after the German side advanced to the semi-finals on Friday, sending Barcelona 8-2.
For the first since 1990/91, and for the first time in the Champions League era, the semi-final will not feature any team from England, Spain or Italy. For the first time in the history of the Champions League, it will feature two teams representing France.

Belgian midfielder de Bruyne said that following another heartbreaking exit from the competition, it is “not good enough”.

“It’s definitely the same. I think the first half was not good enough,” he told BT Sport after the game. “I think we know that.

“We started slowly, we didn’t have a lot of options. I think in the second half we played really well. We came back 1-1, had a few chances and then obviously the 2-1 , then 3-1 ends the game, it’s a shame for us to go that way.

“The game was open but they didn’t really create except the two scoring chances. Yeah, we have to learn. It’s not good enough.”

READ: ‘Club needs changes’ Changes on the horizon for Barcelona after Champions League humiliation
Moussa Dembélé scores Lyon's second goal.

Absorb the pressure

With its star players and a renowned manager, Manchester City were overwhelmingly favored to beat Lyon.

But the French side had shown their resilience in their second leg against Juventus in the previous round, managing to get ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and his company despite almost five months without football.

And its robustness was put to the test from the start. Manchester City dominated possession from the first whistle but failed to create golden opportunities.

And finally, Lyon’s counterattacking ability produced the game’s first goal. A ball played behind the city’s defense for Karl Toko Ekambi only to eventually fall on Maxwel Cornet and, with city goalkeeper Ederson out of his goal, Cornet threw a magnificent curling shot into the nearest post of about 20 meters.

The rest of the first half went as Lyon and their coach Rudi Garcia would have expected. Manchester City dominated possession without creating too many clear chances while Pep Guardiola’s side looked sensitive at the break.

After the half-time break the game opened and following an attacking replacement from Guardiola City began to create chances at will.

And finally, the pressure was revealed, as some nice footwork from England international Raheem Sterling freed him for de Bruyne to finish.

It looked like there would only be one winner. However, Lyon’s super-submarine Dembélé thought differently, hanging on to a balloon deep halfway through and finishing under Ederson. A nervous check from the video assistant referee followed, but after a few minutes of waiting, the goal was given.

Forward Maxwel Cornet celebrates Lyon's debut goal against Manchester City on Saturday August 15.

Although City were late, he created the best chance and the best went to Sterling. Some smart dribbling and a cross from Gabriel Jesus left Sterling with an open goal just five yards away, but he sent the ball skyward and over the goal.

And the miss turned out to be expensive. Barely 59 seconds later, Lyon had scored again, Dembélé leaping off a bad Ederson save to send the French club into the last four for the first time in nearly 10 years.

The result means that during Guardiola’s time at the club, Manchester City failed to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Although he believes his side played well for the majority of the game, Guardiola lamented Manchester City’s inability to play without errors in the Champions League.

“Someday we’ll break that quarter-final gap,” he told BT Sport after the game. “Except for the first 25 minutes where we struggled to find spaces to attack them more fluidly, the players, they play for free.”

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“And the last 15 minutes of the first half were good. The second half went well, we were there. I felt we were better, but you have to be perfect in this competition in only one game and we weren’t. “

The 2019-20 Champions League semi-finals will see two French teams and two German teams compete for a place in the final; the first time since 2012-13 that there are only two different nations represented at this stage.



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