Champions League - APOEL stun Lyon to progress

Wed, 07 Mar 22:29:00 2012

APOEL became the first Cypriot club to reach the Champions League last eight courtesy of a 4-3 win on penalties over Lyon at Nicosia's GSP Stadium.

APOEL Nicosia players celebrate after scoring against Olympique Lyon during their Champions League second leg, last 16 match at GSP stadium in Nicosia March 7, 2012 - 0

APOEL won the match 1-0 on the night to level the tie 1-1 on aggregate courtesy of Gustavo Manduca's ninth-minute opener and 30 minutes of extra-time failed to split two evenly-matched sides in the Cypriot capital.

It was the minnows from Cyprus who held their nerve in the shoot-out with home goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis saving penalties from Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos to deny the French side a place in the quarter-finals for the second time in three years.

Chiotis was desperately unfortunate not to save a third penalty in the shoot-out when Lisandro's kick came back off a post and hit him on the back before ending up in the net.

The result is sure to increase the pressure on Lyon coach Remi Garde, whose side are seventh in Ligue 1 and are struggling to qualify for next season's Champions League among the top three automatic qualifiers from the French league.

In truth, they can have few complaints about the result with APOEL's passion for the occasion seeing them over the line amid wild scenes of celebration. They have lost only once in 10 European outings this term.

Manduca - who was sent off late in the match - benefited from some slipshod Lyon defending to slot the ball home after Costas Charalambides had cut open the visitors with a purposeful ball across the face of goal.

Chiotis had to look lively to scamper back to nudge Ederson's free-kick over his bar on 23 minutes as Lyon chased the away goal that would have forced APOEL to net another two goals to progress.

It never came despite Bastos heading over the bar on 30 minutes with the Brazilian then supplying Ederson to nod a header wide six minutes later.

Lyon had quelled the noisy posse of home supporters after such a rousing opening, but Hugo Lloris had to look like lively to halt a Solari effort moments before the break.

With the tension mounting in the ground, Aly Cissokho was fortunate to avoid scoring an own goal on 56 minutes as his header hit his own bar and flew over from Helder Sousa's delivery.

It was becoming clear that extra-time would be needed when Chiotis dived to claw out a Lisandro header on 72 minutes, but chances were few and far between in extra-time despite the game raging from end to end.

Bakari Kone made a number of superb tackles to deny Ailton a shot at goal throughout the evening, but Lyon could not make their one-man advantage count in the final five minutes when Manduca was sent off for a second booking after bringing down Lacazette.

For the record, Ailton, Nuno Morais, Nektarious Alexandrou and Ivan Trickovski scored penalties for APOEL with Kim Kallstrom, Lisandro and Befetimbi Gomis on target for Lyon.


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