Lyon stunned Manchester City to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League



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Lyon stunned Manchester City on Saturday to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals, winning 3-1.

The French side got off to the perfect start, stifling Manchester City’s attacking play and finally taking the lead in the 24th minute thanks to Maxwel Cornet’s inventive finish from outside the area.

In the second half, the English side increased the pressure, and the pressure paid off as Kevin de Bruyne equalized before substitute Moussa Dembélé scored twice to put Lyon through.

Lyon will face Bayern Munich in the semi-final on Wednesday, after the German side advanced to the semi-finals on Friday, dispatching Barcelona 8-2.

Lyon players celebrate the team's victory over Manchester City on Saturday, August 15.

For first since 1990/91, and for the first time in the Champions League era, the semi-final stage will not feature any team from England, Spain or Italy. For the first time in the history of the Champions League, it will have two teams representing France.

Belgium midfielder de Bruyne said after another heartbreaking exit from the competition, “it’s not good enough”.

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

“We started slowly, we didn’t have many options. I think in the second half we played very well. We came back 1-1, had a couple of chances and then obviously 2-1, and then 3-1 ends the game. It is a shame for us to go down this road.

“The game was open, but they didn’t really create, except for the two scoring chances. Yes, we have to learn. It’s not good enough.”

READ: ‘The club needs changes’ Changes on the horizon for Barcelona after the Champions League humiliation

Moussa Dembélé scores Lyon's second goal.

With their star players and a renowned manager, Manchester City were overwhelmingly favored to beat Lyon.

But the French team had shown their resilience in the second leg against Juventus in the previous round, managing to overcome Cristiano Ronaldo and company despite having been without football for almost five months.

And its robustness was tested from the start. Manchester City dominated possession from the first whistle but failed to create any golden chances.

And finally Lyon’s counter-attacking ability produced the first goal of the game. A ball was played in behind the City defense for Karl Toko Ekambi to race on and eventually fall to Maxwel Cornet and, with City keeper Ederson out of his reach, Cornet curled a superb curling shot at the near post from about 20 meters.

The rest of the first half was played as Lyon and coach Rudi Garcia would have planned. Manchester City dominated possession without creating too many clear-cut chances, while Pep Guardiola’s side looked susceptible on the break.

After the break, the game opened up and after an attacking substitution from Guardiola, City began to create chances at will.

And finally the pressure told as some good footwork from England international Raheem Sterling freed him to slot it back for De Bruyne to finish.

It seemed like there was only going to be one winner. However, Lyon’s own super-sub Dembélé thought otherwise, picking up a deep pass near halfway and finishing under Ederson. A nervous check by the video assistant followed, but after a few minutes of waiting the goal was awarded.

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

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

And the lack proved costly. Just 59 seconds later, Lyon had scored again, Dembélé pouncing on a poor save from Ederson to send the French club into the final four for the first time in nearly 10 years.

The result means that during Guardiola’s time at the club, Manchester City have failed to get past the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Despite thinking his team played well for most of the game, Guardiola lamented Manchester City’s inability to play without mistakes in the Champions League.

“One day we’ll break that quarter-final gap,” he told BT Sport after the game. “Except for the first 25 minutes where we struggled to find spaces to attack them more fluidly, the players, they play freely.”

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

Semi-finals of the Champions League 2019-20 will see two French teams and two German teams compete for a place in the final; the first time since 2012-13 that there are only two different nations represented at this stage.

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