Lyon shocked Manchester City on Saturday by securing a spot in the Champions League semifinals with a 3-1 victory.
The beginning of the game favored the French team, as they successfully stopped Manchester City’s attacks and scored a goal after 24 minutes through Maxwel Cornet’s creative shot from outside the box.
During the latter part of the game, the English team increased their intensity and it paid off when Kevin de Bruyne calmly scored a goal to even out the score. Later on, substitute Moussa Dembélé scored two goals, securing Lyon’s victory.
On Wednesday, Lyon will compete against Bayern Munich in the semifinal, as the German team secured their spot after defeating Barcelona 8-2 on Friday.
This year marks the first time since 1990/91, and also the first time in the era of the Champions League, that the semifinal round will not include any teams from England, Spain, or Italy. In a first for the Champions League, two teams from France will compete in the semifinals.
De Bruyne, a midfielder from Belgium, expressed his disappointment with their latest heartbreaking elimination from the competition, stating that it was “unacceptable.”
“He expressed disappointment with the performance, stating that the first half was not up to par,” he stated to BT Sport post-game. “It’s something we are aware of.”
“We began at a slow pace and were limited in our choices. However, in the second half, we performed exceptionally. We managed to equalize 1-1 and had a few opportunities before ultimately securing a 2-1 lead, followed by a final goal of 3-1 to seal the game. It’s unfortunate for us to end the game in this manner.”
The match was competitive, but they only had two opportunities to score. We must improve and strive for better results.
“The club is in need of modifications” – Barcelona will be making changes in response to their humiliating defeat in the Champions League.
Absorbing the stress
Manchester City, led by their star players and prominent manager, were heavily expected to defeat Lyon.
However, the French team demonstrated their determination in the second leg against Juventus in the previous round, successfully defeating Cristiano Ronaldo’s team despite a five-month hiatus from football.
@MDembele_10 scores the third goal! LET’S GO! #ManCityOL pic.twitter.com/D2ZN5t2PdM
The Twitter account for Olympique Lyonnais posted on August 15, 2020.
The durability of the item was tested immediately. Manchester City had control of the ball from the beginning, but were unable to generate any significant chances.
Lyon’s counterattacking skills led to the first goal of the game. A pass was played behind the City defense for Karl Toko Ekambi to chase after, but it ended up reaching Maxwel Cornet. With City’s goalkeeper Ederson out of position, Cornet expertly curved the ball into the near post from a distance of approximately 20 yards.
For the remainder of the first half, Lyon and their coach Rudi Garcia saw their strategic plan unfold as they had hoped. Despite Manchester City controlling possession, they struggled to create significant scoring opportunities, leaving them vulnerable to counterattacks from Pep Guardiola’s squad.
After the intermission, the match became more dynamic and, thanks to Guardiola’s strategic substitution, City started to generate opportunities effortlessly.
In the end, the pressure paid off. Raheem Sterling, a player for the English national team, used some impressive footwork to create space and pass it back to de Bruyne, who then scored.
It seemed as though there would only be a single victor. Yet, Lyon’s own substitute Dembélé had a different idea, as he received a pass near the halfway line and scored past Ederson. A tense review by the video assistant referee ensued, but after a brief delay, the goal was ultimately awarded.
Despite being at a disadvantage, City managed to generate more opportunities, with the most notable one being a chance for Sterling. After some impressive footwork and a pass from Gabriel Jesus, Sterling found himself with a clear shot at the goal from only five yards away. However, he ended up sending the ball soaring over the net.
The mistake ended up being quite expensive. Less than a minute later, Lyon scored once more, with Dembélé taking advantage of a weak save by Ederson and securing a spot for the French team in the semi-finals for the first time in almost a decade.
During Guardiola’s tenure at the club, Manchester City has been unsuccessful in advancing beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Although he believed his team performed well for most of the game, Guardiola expressed frustration over Manchester City’s inability to play without making mistakes in the Champions League.
“After the game, he told BT Sport that we will one day overcome the hurdle of the quarterfinals. Despite some difficulties in the first 25 minutes, where we had trouble finding openings to attack more smoothly, the players played with freedom.”
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The final 15 minutes of the first half were satisfactory, while the second half was decent as we were present. I believed we were superior, but in a single game competition, perfection is necessary and we fell short.
In the semifinals of the 2019-20 Champions League, there will be two teams from France and two teams from Germany vying for a spot in the final. This is the first time since 2012-13 that only two nations are represented at this stage.