Maxwel Cornet was once again the executioner of Manchester City, Saturday in the quarter-finals of the Champions League (3-1), joined by Moussa Dembélé, author of a decisive double with a sweet taste of revenge.
No Dembélé on the pitch at kick-off in Turin and again a Dembélé on the bench against the vice-champion of England, because Rudi Garcia had played the card of speed and versatility by starting Karl Toko- Ekambi alongside Memphis Depay.
His coach had however had a word for him before the match at the microphone of RMC.
"Moussa is very important and will perhaps bring us his power during the match. We have seen that the substitutes were important since the start of the quarters", explained Rudi Garcia, almost prophetic.
For 75 long minutes, Dembélé chomped at the bit and waited in the shadows for his quarter of an hour to come.
And the impact of his entry on the pitch immediately blew up a very hard-working Manchester City in the first half, but who managed to regain control of the game during the first 30 minutes of the second act.
The international Espoirs made a magnificent call on an opening from Houssem Aouar, after a recovery from Maxence Caqueret, and take advantage of the skillful "dodge" of Toko-Ekambi in offside position at the start of the ball, to go and adjust Ederson with the coolness of the pawnbroker (2-1, 79).
Seven minutes later, he still prowled in the right place to recover a strike from Aouar pushed back in front of him by Ederson and give air to the Lyonnais who did not miss it against the armada of stars led by Pep Guardiola (3-1, 86th).
- Faith and insolence -
He thus completed the work of destruction started by Mawxel Cornet, which has not finished giving citizens nightmares.
Author already three goals in the double confrontation in the group stage last year, the Ivorian had shown the way to success for his family in the first period.
He had followed a call from Toko Ekambi, finally taken over by Eric Garcia, and with an exquisite curled shot, he had propelled the ball along the right post of Ederson who had badly closed his angle by backing (1-0, 24th).
With four goals against City, Cornet shares the title of top scorer in C1 against the Sky Blues of Guardiola with a certain ... Lionel Messi.
But limiting its contribution to this one goal would be very reductive.
Target of a muscular treatment from Kyle Walker, Cornet was a defensive rock as much as an offensive poison.
In added time of the first period, he threw himself into the feet of Raheem Sterling to counter his strike from close, following a wonderful opening from the outside from the right of Kevin de Bruyne (45 + 2) .
In the 54th minute, he had also covered a ball near the corner post of Fernandinho's assault, causing the fault of the experienced Brazilian (35) as if he had occupied the position of full-back all his life.
Between them, Dembélé and Cornet symbolized the collective strength of a group which has just brought down, after Cristiano Ronaldo's Juve, the dream of a club spoiled for money by its Emirati owners.
But the stars and tactical finesse of his "best coach in the world" could do nothing against the appetite and insolence of a group inhabited by a contagious faith.
© 2020 AFP