It is perhaps the most significant victory in the history of OL. Saturday night, the Lyonnais beat Manchester City in the quarter-final of the Champions League (3-1), a victory synonymous with qualifying for the last four of the competition. The last time Lyon had reached such a stage in C1 was in 2010. OL then found Bayern Munich, as will be the case on Wednesday. The German champions will be the big favorites of the meeting, after their demonstration against Barcelona on Friday night (8-2). For the first time in the history of the Champions League, two French clubs appear in the last four.
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The Rudi Garcia paw
His arrival on the OL bench to succeed Silvinho had left many supporters septic. Often criticized, not really dubbed, Rudi Garcia is taking his revenge. The 3-5-2 he has been wearing since this summer showed all its strength on Saturday night. The proof: OL have conceded only one goal, by Kevin de Bruyne. The Citizens certainly had other opportunities, but they were very hampered by the Lyon defensive system. The tenure of Karl Toko-Ekambi also paid off, as did the entry into play of Moussa Dembélé who rocked the meeting. Despite a not very homogeneous workforce, the OL coach succeeded in building a united Lyons commando for the same objective.
Maxwel Cornet, the executioner of City
Maxwel Cornet had already made the Citizens suffer a lot last year, in the group stage. He had scored three of his club's four goals and allowed OL to win, then to concede a draw against the English club, a performance. Saturday night in Lisbon, the Ivorian continued his momentum. He scored the first goal for his team (24th), and offered a breath of fresh air to OL which was suffering more and more. "Rudi Garcia is succeeding with Cornet what he achieved with Bouna Sarr at OM. With the same technical profile, he managed to make him accept the defensive game and the debauchery of effort required, without losing in view of his offensive qualities, "commented Patrick Julliard in the debrief of the match on Europe 1.
The decisive entry of Moussa Dembélé
Moussa Dembélé will remain the hero of this evening. However, all had not started so well. As against Juventus in the quarter-finals, he started the meeting on the bench, Rudi Garcia preferring Karl Toko-Ekambi. "It's not always easy to be on the bench, but you have to keep the good spirit and bring your stone to the building when you come back," he said after the meeting at RMC Sport. "It was a disappointment for Moussa (Dembélé) not to start, but like I told him, he was going to be very important when he came in. The salvation came from the bench, like in the first two quarter-finals," said Rudi Garcia. Moussa Dembélé did not allow himself to be defeated. Entered the game in the 75th minute in place of Memphis Depay, little in sight Saturday night, he scored two goals in less than ten minutes, while Manchester City had equalized. Not only did Moussa Dembélé lead OL to a qualification in the semi-finals, but he also demonstrated an irreproachable state of mind.
Among the other Lyonnais who shone on Saturday evening, we must also mention Houssem Aouar. The 22-year-old playmaker once again carried his team and greatly disturbed City players. He is also the source of Moussa Dembélé's two goals.
The failure of Pep Guardiola
If Rudi Garcia succeeded perfectly, Pep Guardiola was wrong. The Spanish coach opted for a different system from the one that defeated Real Madrid in the second leg (2-1), with three central defenders, for nearly an hour. But the Citizens did not shine. The Lyonnais, aggressive, also disrupted their long possession streaks characteristic of the game developed by Pep Guardiola. And the early entry of Riyad Mahrez did not change anything (56th). "We knew that Pep could concoct something to give us problems. But in the end I think we won the tactical battle in the sense that we master our tactical system well, even if I changed it (during the match ) ", estimated Rudi Garcia after the match. Pep Guardiola had made the Champions League the goal of his season, but for City, the adventure ends prematurely.