Lyon beat Manchester City to advance to Champions League semi-finals

The French got off to a great start, choking off Manchester City’s attacking play and eventually taking the lead in the 24th minute thanks to Maxwel Cornet’s inventive strike from outside the box.

In the second half, the English ratcheted up the pressure and the pressure eventually took its toll as Kevin de Bruyne coolly scored a goal to equalize before substitute Moussa Dembele scored two goals to take Lyon to the end.

Lyon will face Bavaria in the semi-finals on Wednesday, after the German team reached the semi-finals on Friday with an 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona.
For the first once since 1990/91 and for the first time in the Champions League era, no team from England, Spain or Italy will compete in the semi-finals. For the first time in the history of the Champions League, two teams representing France will take part in it.

Belgian midfielder De Bruyne said after another heartbreaking exit from the tournament, it was “not good enough”.

“It’s definitely the same. I think the first half wasn’t good enough,” he told BT Sport after the game. “I think we know it.

“We started slowly, we didn’t have many options. I think we played very well in the second half. We are ashamed to go this way.

“The game was open but they didn’t create anything other than two scoring chances. Yes, we need to learn. This is not enough”.

Moussa Dembele scores Lyon's second goal.

Soaking up the pressure

Thanks to their star players and eminent manager, Manchester City overwhelmingly preferred to beat Lyon.

But the French showed their resilience in the second leg against Juventus in the previous round, managing to get past Cristiano Ronaldo and company despite almost five months without football.

And its strength has been tested from the very beginning. Manchester City dominated possession from the first whistle but failed to create any golden chances.

And ultimately, Lyon’s ability to counter-attack led to the first goal of the game. A ball played behind the City defenders was run over by Carl Toko Ekambi who ended up falling on Maxwel Cornet and when City keeper Ederson missed the net, Cornet delivered a superb near post curl from about 20 yards.

The rest of the first half went as planned by Lyon and coach Rudy Garcia. Manchester City dominated possession without creating too many clear chances while Josep Guardiola’s side looked susceptible to a break.

After the break, the game opened up and after replacing Guardiola in attack, City began to create chances at their own discretion.

And, in the end, the pressure took its toll as Raheem Sterling’s good England international footwork freed him to put it off for de Bruyne to finish.

It seemed that there would be only one winner. However, Lyon’s own super-substitute Dembele thought otherwise, seizing on a counterfeit pass nearly halfway through and scoring Ederson. A nervous check by the video assistant referee followed, but after a few minutes of waiting, the goal was awarded.

Striker Maxwell Cornet celebrates Lyon's first goal against Manchester City on Saturday 15 August.

Although City fell behind, they created the best chances, the best of which went to Sterling. Clever dribbling and a cross from Gabriel Jesus left Sterling with an open net from just five yards, but he sent the ball high and over the net.

And the failure was costly. Just 59 seconds later, Lyon scored again and Dembélé seized on Ederson’s botched save to send the French club to the Final Four for the first time in almost 10 years.

The result means that during Guardiola’s tenure at the Manchester City club, he was unable to pass the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.

Even though Guardiola felt that his side played well for most of the game, he lamented Manchester City’s inability to play error-free in the Champions League.

“One day we will close that quarter-final gap,” he told BT Sport after the game. “Except for the first 25 minutes, when we struggled to find places to attack them more smoothly, players play for free.”

“And the last 15 minutes of the first half were good. The second half was ok, we were there. I had a feeling that we were better, but in this competition you have to be perfect in one game, and we weren’t.”

Semi-final matches of the Champions League 2019-20. will see two French teams and two German teams compete for a place in the final; for the first time since 2012–2013, only two different countries are represented at this stage.