APOEL vs. Olympique Lyonnais  1 - 0

Article

Champions League: APOEL Nicosia 1 Lyon 0 (APOEL 4-3 on pens)

8 March 2012 00:02

APOEL Nicosia's dream Champions League run continued after they defeated Lyon 4-3 on penalties in Cyprus on Wednesday.

The hosts won 1-0 in 90 minutes to level the tie 1-1, before extra-time ended goalless, sending the contest to spot-kicks.

The Cypriot outfit advanced 4-3 in the shootout, with Michel Bastos' spot kick saved by APOEL goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis, sending the underdogs through to the quarter-final stage.

It was the Cypriots who scored the only goal of the match after seven minutes when Gustavo Manduca - who was dismissed later in extra-time - sent the packed home support into raptures.

Ivan Jovanovic's side were not merely defensive spectators after scoring, but it was the visiting Lyon who did much of the pressing for the remainder for no result.

APOEL started the encounter with a stance far removed from their usual dour, defensive approach, and within 10 minutes they had their reward as they got back level on aggregate.

Constantinos Charalambidis took advantage of sloppy defending from the French side, and after Anthony Reveillere failed miserably to deal with the Cyprus international's cross, Manduca converted from close range.

Lyon steadied to enjoy the better chances of the first half, though they rarely tested Chiotis.

The goalkeeper's misjudgement of an Ederson cross forced him to produce a fine stretching save, and minutes later Bastos headed over after Lisandro had finally got behind the home defence.

The best chance for Lyon came seven minutes before the break, when Bastos' cross was met by the head of Ederson, whose effort glanced centimetres wide.

Despite their attacking play, Lyon looked lethargic at the back and could on more than one occasion have been caught. Charalambidis hit the side netting when well placed, and just before the interval Esteban Solari had a shot kicked clear by Hugo Lloris.

The second half was - as expected - a nervous one for both sides, with tensions running high from the outset, when the referee overlooked a physical clash between Lyon's Cris and APOEL's Marcelo Oliveira. It was the Cypriots who made the better impression early on, though it was Lyon's Aly Cissokho who went closest to beating Lloris as his header skimmed his own bar.

With 20 minutes remaining, Charalambidis made another deadly burst down the right channel, but his dangerous low cross was touched wide by Solari, who should have at least got a shot on target.

Lisandro went closest for Remi Garde's men, as he was left free at the far post to aim a header towards the corner of the net, though Chiotis got a fingertip on the effort to turn it wide.

Paulo Jorge nearly diverted a Kallstrom free kick into his own net soon after the resumption in extra-time.

Once more chances were limited, with neither side over-committing forward, though it was the French side that offered the greater threat as their hosts tired.

APOEL's defensive mindset contributed to Manduca picking up a second yellow card with 115 minutes on the clock.

Even without their talisman, APOEL were so buoyant they progressed to the quarter-finals, with Bastos missing the decisive kick for Lyon after the home side hit the back of the net with each of their four penalties to send the crowd into hysterics.

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Garde eager to seal APOEL tie

7 March 2012 16:54

Lyon coach Remi Garde is confident that his team will qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of APOEL Nicosia.

The Ligue 1 giants recorded a 1-0 home win in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie and Garde believes that Lyon will be able to add to their lead in Wednesday's return fixture.

"We have a 1-0 advantage and we need to build on it. We need to not only defend but also to score," Garde told reporters.

"We have enough quality in the side to achieve both those targets. We are strong going forward but we also need to be strong at the back."

"One team will emerge victorious from this tie and both teams have chances to qualify. This game will be different to the first leg but it is impossible to predict exactly how.

"We are in the last 16 of the competition and we want to move on to the next stage."

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Champions League preview: APOEL v Lyon

5 March 2012 18:18

APOEL will be looking to overturn a one-goal deficit and continue their unprecedented Champions League run against Lyon on Wednesday.

The French side head to the Neo GSP Stadium in Cyprus with the goal advantage after their home win in the first leg but their league form has been far from impressive in recent weeks.

Remi Garde's men have not won in their past four Ligue 1 matches and slumped to an embarrassing 2-0 defeat by lowly Nancy on Saturday.

"We lacked a bit of strength, speed and enthusiasm (against Nancy). When we don't create enough scoring opportunities and make mistakes at the other end, then we lose matches we should be winning," Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said.

"It's hugely disappointing, but we have to stand right behind the team ... we need to bounce back mentally," he said.

The draw though, did fall kindly for them with APOEL, relative minnows at Champions League level, arguably the weakest side in the last 16.

To advance, APOEL must score twice if they are to become the first Cypriot side to reach the last eight of any European competition.

APOEL stormed to a 4-1 league win over Ermis Aradippou at the weekend and will take great confidence into the Lyon clash knowing they have already defeated Zenit St Petersburg and Porto at home in the Champions League this season.

With by far the smallest budget of the remaining Champions League sides, the importance of the match for APOEL was not lost on striker Esteban Solari, who scored a double against Ermis.

"We are fully focused on the game with Lyon that certainly will be one of the most important games in the history of APOEL," Solari said.

"We know that if we stick together, this might be a dream that can come true."

Lyon have been knocked out at the round-of-16 stage in four of the last five campaigns.

1. Division table

# Team MP D P
1 6 +8 16
2 6 +1 12
3 6 +8 11
4 6 +4 11
5 6 +2 10

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
2 10 +11 18
3 10 +6 18
4 10 +11 17
5 10 +0 17
6 10 +1 16