Thanks to the replaced attacker Moussa Dembele, Lyon defeated Man City 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on August 15.
Goals: De Bruyne 69 ‘- Cornet 24’, Dembele 79 ‘, 87’.
The drama of the match focused on the last 15 minutes of the match, when the score was 1-1. In the 75th minute, Lyon’s top star – Memphis Depay was replaced by Moussa Dembele. Four minutes into the game, the French striker made full use of Aymeric Laporte’s failed pass. He stepped up strongly, broke the offside trap, before threading goalkeeper Ederson in the face-off phase.
The match was just over 10 minutes, and the Man City players immediately surrounded the referee to report Dembele’s error. Before hitting Ederson’s net, Lyon’s reserve attacker collided with Laporte, causing the midfielder to fall. Dembele’s position when receiving the ball is also on the offside line. However, using VAR technology, the referee team confirmed that the goal was valid after more than one minute of discussion.
Six minutes of Dembele’s goal, Man City had a golden opportunity to equalize. Raheem Sterling comfortably cushioned the ball close to the 5m50 line, when the goal was left empty, but the English striker awkwardly sent the ball over the bar. Right on the next kick of goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, Man City’s defense was beaten on the face. In the third position, Houssem Aouar stretched from the left flank, forcing Ederson to push the ball. Dembele was present at the right time to cushion the ball close to the goal, setting a 3-1 victory for Lyon.
The progress of the Champions League final quarter-finals this season is very similar to what Bayern Munich and Barca showed the day before. There, one side tried to control the ball (Barca, Man City) with a group of players playing together for many years. And the other side switched from extremely fast defense to attack (Bayern, Lyon) thanks to the speedy spikes.
Man City did not make as many defensive mistakes as Barca, the quality of Lyon’s personnel also lost to Bayern, but the final results did not change. The speedy pressing stone, which was crowned with Liverpool last season, continues to win. The whole game, Lyon launched seven shots, six on target and scored three goals. That performance is much higher than 18 shots, seven goals and one goal from Pep Guardiola’s teachers and students.
Failure in Portugal continues to question Guardiola’s ability to raise Man City. For four consecutive seasons, the Etihad Stadium owner could not enter the Champions League semi-finals. It all comes under the same scenario: Man City is valued more, but falls in a confusing way. So was the match on August 15. Although he knew that the Lyon striker was very fast and only expected a counterattack, Guardiola withdrew an interceptor, Fernandinho, from the field. The remaining two midfielders Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan are often beaten by Lyon’s cross passes.
With the format of kicking a knockout match, the Champions League has many hidden surprises. To reduce risk, Guardiola arranged the three midfielders like Lyon. Eric Garcia, 19 years old, was the main kicker, alongside two seniors Fernandinho and Laporte. The 49-year-old military leader wants to create a solid launch pad for Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker to comfortably rise in the two sides, and at the same time avoid letting the opponent flutter like what Real Madrid did in the second round of the eighth round.
Guardiola’s calculation developed in the first minutes. Sterling repeatedly put the ball in the Lyon penalty area from the edge, but both the best situations in the third and 22nd minutes, the English striker could not return successfully. Sterling’s team-mate Kevin De Bruyne – also benefited from the rising wingers. You have more outputs for passes. But in a situation where De Bruyne’s level was needed in the 20th minute, he did not do well. Received a pass to the right wing, the team moved inside, but De Bruyne’s one-touch pass went too deep.
Contrary to Guardiola’s concern, Lyon rarely attacked the right wing, but mostly concentrated on the left flank, where Depay and Maxwel Cornet. The speed of these two players constantly puts Fernandinho in misery. Lyon’s opener also came from this attack direction. In the 24th minute, Karl Toko Ekambi speeded up, broke the offside trap, but was blocked. Cornet kicked the kick, putting the ball in the near corner, making Ederson unable to return.
The defeat made Man City play like a man in the fog. About 30 minutes after the goal, the blue shirt team sent the ball a lot to two sides to stretch Lyon’s defense block. Two minutes before the break, they almost got results. Sterling suddenly appeared on the right wing, dropping the ball in the right position for Rodri. From the penalty area, unaccompanied, the Spanish midfielder failed to hit the ball and was captured by Lopes. Before that, De Bruyne tried his luck with a straight free kick from the corner, but Lopes was focused.
In the second half, Man City remained loyal to the crosses, but the people they had on the field did not match the traditional English style. It was not until the 69th minute that De Bruyne removed the secret of Man City. He sparked the attack on the left flank, before going up to catch Sterling’s cross, cushioning the ball one touch, sending the ball into the far corner.
Table to remove more excitement for Man City. The coordination in a narrow range of the blue shirt team became accurate. After 72 minutes, Gabriel Jesus broke through on the left, then fired into the side netting after breaking free on the left. Outside the field, Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Phil Foden all warmed up, signaling the possibility of increasing pressure from Guardiola.
However, only David Silva was allowed in the last few minutes, as a reward for this god in the final match against Man City. Guardiola’s army failed when on their bench two true midfielders named John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, and Bernardo Silva’s fuse were wasted.
Again, Guardiola could not adapt to the course of the game, if it went beyond his expectation. The former Barca coach will re-contemplate that next season, thanks to Man City successfully appealing against the Champions League ban. And Lyon, they and Leipzig wrote the fairy tales this season. After Juventus and Man City, Bayern Munich will be the next big man to stop them from reaching the Champions League final for the first time.
Man City: Ederson; Fernandinho (Mahrez 56 ‘), Garcia, Laporte; Rodri (Silva 84 ‘); Walker, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Cancelo; Jesus, Sterling.
Subs not used: Bravo, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Mendy, Otamendi, Foden, Doyle, Palmer, Bernabe.
Lyon: Lopes; Denayer, Marcelo, Marcal; Dubois (Tete 74 ‘), Caqueret, Guimaraes (Mendes 70’), Aouar, Cornet; Ekambi (Rene-Adelaide 87 ‘), Depay (Dembele 75’).
Subs not used: Diomande, Andersen, Da Silva, Traore, Thiago, Cherki, Lucas, Tatarusanu, Bard.