Olympique Lyonnais vs. APOEL  1 - 0


Garde: We wanted more goals

15 February 2012 16:20

Lyon boss Remi Garde hopes his team will not regret only netting once in their 1-0 Champions League win at home over APOEL on Tuesday.

A stubborn and defensive APOEL held firm for most of the round-of-16 first-leg clash at Stade de Gerland, but Alexandre Lacazette's deflected 58th-minute effort proved to be enough for the hosts.

Despite taking an advantage into the second leg - to be played in Nicosia on March 7 - Garde fears only scoring once at home could cost his side.

"The game went as we expected. We tried to dictate the pace and tried to ensure we didn't concede an away goal," Garde said.

"We would have liked to score more goals - hopefully we won't regret that in the second leg."

"They will have to come at us, which will give us chances on the counter-attack. We'll need to be strong mentally and make sure we are prepared."

After struggling to break down the visitors' defence, Lyon went ahead when Lacazette, given a surprise start, struck.

Garde believes his team still have work to do in the tie and said they lacked energy in the second half.

"We lacked freshness in the second half. We needed a bit of a boost to keep up the tempo of the first half," he said.

"My squad is at full steam, I can change things round from one match to another and I'll keep doing so."

"We're just at half-time of our tie - nothing is settled yet."

Cypriots APOEL rarely threatened in an attacking sense, and were without a shot on goal until the dying stages of the encounter.

APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic said he was happy with the result, but added it was far from his team's best performance.

"We are actually quite satisfied with the result. We have played better than we did tonight but often your performance is affected by your opponents, too," the Serbian said.

"They were strong, worked hard and did not allow us to play our normal game."


Champions League: Lyon 1 APOEL 0

14 February 2012 23:10

An Alexandre Lacazette goal helped Lyon to a hard-fought 1-0 win over APOEL in their round-of-16 first-leg clash in France on Tuesday.

Remi Garde's men endured nearly an hour of frustration as they chipped away at the visiting defence without success, until surprise starter Lacazette struck with a deflected effort on 58 minutes.

APOEL rarely threatened in attack as they defended stoutly throughout, and it took them until the dying stages to manage a shot on goal at Stade de Gerland.

The hosts were prepared for the stubborn Cypriots, but their inability to break down a well-organised defence meant that long periods of the first half were dour.

It took Lyon nearly 25 minutes to offer a genuine threat, with Michel Bastos' shot from range deflected narrowly over.

Lyon's efforts were typically from range, with the lively Lacazette drawing the best save of the first half with his shot from the corner of the area needing to be turned over by Dionisis Chiotis five minutes from the interval.

After the break, the game opened up marginally, and it was to the advantage of the Ligue 1 outfit.

Lyon were starting to get frustrated, only for Lacazette to send a powerful shot into the net via Paulo Jorge's boot.

The forward cut in from the left hand side before seeing his effort fortuitously deflected over the top of Chiotis.

Lyon squandered a chance to double their advantage as Bastos shot wide having escaped behind the defence down the right.

Keen to find a second goal to give them added insurance, the home side continued to threaten.

Jimmy Briand, on for Lacazette, crossed wonderfully for Ederson, but the Brazilian's header skimmed the post and went wide.

Chances in the latter part of the match were rare, though substitute Yoann Gourcuff did head a tricky chance off target from a Bastos cross.

With only a couple of minutes remaining, the visitors finally managed their first shot on goal.

Gustavo Manduca came off the bench and struck from the edge of the box, but Hugo Lloris tipped it over.

Neither side will be disappointed with the 1-0 outcome, with both outfits feeling they still have a chance of qualification ahead of the second leg in Nicosia on March 7.


Garde calls for Lyon improvement

14 February 2012 14:04

Lyon manager Remi Garde has urged his players to rediscover some form ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with APOEL Nicosia.

The French outfit were handed what many believed to be the most favourable round-of-16 tie, but Garde warned his men against complacency, especially given their recent run of form in Ligue 1.

The club is reeling after Saturday's dismal home defeat to Caen which left them 11 points adrift of leaders PSG.

While the Champions League has provided a welcome distraction for Garde, the French manager is mindful of the need for improvement if his side are to qualify for the quarter-finals.

"It's the same answer since the beginning of the season, the same for every game: we need to find the right motivation to be able to surpass ourselves," Garde said.

"And the objective is also to take pleasure during the game because to be able to surpass yourself you need to enjoy what you are doing. That's what we have been trying to do as a team."

"In the Champions League you always need to raise your level well above what's required for domestic competitions, whoever you are facing, and especially against this opponent. We will need to play better than we have recently."

APOEL surprised many to top Group G ahead of Zenit St. Petersburg, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk and although they will once again go in as underdogs, Garde highlighted the Cypriot side's experience as crucial to their success.

"Lyon certainly has more experience than APOEL Nicosia in the European Cups in general, but I'm not sure that my players are more experienced than their opponents."

"I have a lot more young players than they do. What you are saying, it's like what I heard it right after the draw."

"People make comments regarding the past, players and budget of every club, a lot of things which won't matter at kick-off. It is still 11 against 11. There will be plenty of comments after the game. Right now, I only focus on the game."


APOEL plot Lyon downfall

13 February 2012 14:01

APOEL manager Ivan Jovanovic is targeting an upset when his team face Olympique Lyon in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Cypriot minnows became the first team from their country to reach the latter stages of the European competition, defying the odds to qualify from a group that contained the likes of Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Serb Jovanovic has turned his sights to French giants Lyon, but warned his side that any mistake will prove costly against Remi Garde's men.

"We cannot afford to make mistakes in midfield, because Lyon are really dangerous in open play, and we must play our football, taking advantage of any error our opponents commit," Jovanovic told Goal.com.

"The dream is to qualify to the Champions League quarter-finals."

Jovanovic recognises that qualification to the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition would be an enormous achievement for his side, and a milestone for football in Cyprus.

"Qualification would be an extension of an outstanding season and a demonstration that there are good teams in Cyprus, as well as an opportunity for the future of my team," he said.

APOEL and Lyon meet at Stade de Gerland on Tuesday.


Champions League preview: Lyon v APOEL

13 February 2012 08:00

Lyon are hoping to use the embarrassment of a 2-1 home loss to Caen as motivation when they host APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League.

Remi Garde's side missed a chance to go third in the league after their slip-up against the lowly Caen, but can bounce back in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League tie on Tuesday.

The fixture will mark the ninth year running that the French giants have made the last 16 and club president Jean-Michel Aulas is hopeful that reflection on Saturday's defeat will give them the impetus to win.

"It is a disappointment. We're coming down to earth with a bump," Aulas told the club's official website.

"We have to look into what went wrong and use this for the Champions League on Tuesday. We have to question ourselves on all levels."

Garde has often relied on youngsters throughout the season and that is one of the reasons given for the club's surprise defeat.

But the Lyon boss may be required to call on at least one of his young prospects again with 18-year-old Samuel Umtiti likely to replace injured Croatian defender Dejan Lovren.

Lyon only booked qualification for the last 16 after a freak 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the last group match which saw them leapfrog Ajax Amsterdam on goal difference.

And they will be a tough nut to crack on home soil, having lost just five of their last 42 home fixtures in the Champions League.

APOEL Nicosia have been this season's Champions League surprise packets though and will go into the away leg quietly confident.

After wins over two legs against Skenderbeu Korce, Slovan Bratislava and Wisla Krakow in qualifying, the Cypriot side finished on top of a group containing 2010-11 Europa League winners Porto, 2008-09 UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St Petersburg.

They have been in good form in the Cypriot league and a five-match unbeaten run sees them sitting second on the table.

APOEL only scored six goals in their six group stage fixtures and they will need to be resilient at the back to get any sort of result in France.

Injuries to defensive pair Marcelo Oliveira, Paulo Jorge and William Boaventura's suspension have left Ivan Jovanovic's side short at the back in recent times, although former Chelsea midfielder Nuno Morais deputised well at the back in the club's most recent league fixtures.

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 20 +44 53
2 20 +27 42
3 20 +26 42
4 20 +19 41
5 20 -1 33

1. Division table

# Team MP D P
1 20 +27 43
2 18 +38 42
3 20 +14 41
4 18 +36 40
5 19 +14 36