Pep Guardiola’s team again falls flat in quarter-finals

Moussa Dembele turns out to the super sub detonator while Raheem Sterling’s miss proves costly to Manchester City as Ederson’s error shattered hopes for an equaliser.

pep guardiola dissapointed

It is often said that history repeats itself and something similar happened in the Champions League quarter-finals tie between Manchester City and Lyon.

For the past two seasons, Manchester City have failed to go past the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They lost to Liverpool in 2018 and to Tottenham in 2019. Now in 2020, they have again crashed out of the Champions League in quarter-finals as Lyon beat them 3-1. The French side had already pulled an upset when they eliminated Italian champions Juventus on away goals. History repeated itself as Rudi Garcia’s side again succeeded in eliminating another giant team from the competition. 

1st Half

There was nothing surprising in the way both teams approached the game. Lyon were expected to sit back and hit City on the counter, while the Citizens were expected to bring the game to the French side and attack. Pep Guardiola has always managed to surprise his opponents with his team selection for tactical reasons.

However this time it proved to counter-effort. Raheem Sterling came in a good position but was unable to find the final pass. While Lyon looked to counter-attack City whenever they had the chance. Les Gones finally succeeded in the 23rd  minute as Manchester City’s defensive vulnerability was again exposed. A long ball over the top Ekambi, Ederson came off his line but Eric Garcia’s tackle disposed of Ekambi. After Garcia’s tackle, the ball did not go away very far and it was collected by Cornet as no City player marked him. With Ederson out off his line, Cornet took a shot which he places brilliantly in the far left-hand corner to give Lyon the lead.

maxwel-cornet-celebrates-goal-agains-manchester-city

Though there were doubts whether Ekambi was offside or not but the goal was given after a VAR check. The Citizens had a chance to score in the 31st the minute when Joao Cancelo’s cross was spilled by Lopes but İlkay Gündoğan was not quick enough to lash on to it. Rodri also had a good chance after some fine work from Sterling on the right-wing but Rodri’s shot lacked power and placement.

In the final moments of the first half, Sterling received the ball over Lyon’s defence on the right-wing but just slight heel touch from Marcelo forced Sterling to change his position. This allowed Cornet to get a tackle and block Sterling’s shot. The first half ended with Lyon leading by one goal to nil against Manchester City.

2nd Half

The second half started with every City fan probably wondering whether there has it in them to break Lyon’s resilience or is it one of those days where regardless of what they do they won’t score. Pep Guardiola’s side relentlessly attacked Lyon’s goal with Riyad Mahrez coming on early in the second half. While Lyon decided to soak City’s pressure and hit them on the counter.

In the 64th minute, a nervous moment arrived for Anthony Lopes as Kevin De Bryune was on a freekick near Lyon’s box. To his relief, the Belgian hit the ball a  little high and scoreline remained the same. Then finally in the 68th minute, the moment arrived for which Manchester City were waiting for so desperately. Raheem Sterling found himself on the left-wing and he managed to cut the ball for De Bruyne as the Belgian was running towards the goal and it was 1-1.

kevin de bruyne celebrates goal against lyon

City again started to believe that they can turn this around as the momentum was with them. The Premier League giants again attacked Lyon as Jesus shot was saved by Lopes. Then to everyone’s utter surprise Rudi Garcia decided to substitute Memphis Depay and bring on Moussa Dembele. This did not stop City’s attack as Jesus wasted a great chance. Again Sterling was involved in the movie, but the Brazilian was unable to convert a cross from the Englishman. With Manchester City wasting chances Lyon got one of their own. Aouar produced a defemce splitting pass on City’s high line, which was meant for Ekambi, however, the striker knew he was offside and decided to let it roll between his legs.

City’s players thought that the game will stop as Ekambi will be offside but Dembele did not stop running and socred to make it 2-1. VAR checked the goal and it was allowed as Ekambi did not interfere with the run of play. The Premier League giants were in no mood to give up as they chased the equaliser.

Jesus managed to go past a couple of Lyon players to set up Sterling who had an open goal but to everyone’s surprise, he missed such open sitter which a glorious chance for them. After that, the game changed as Lyon were on a counter and Aouar hit a weak shot which was spilled by Ederson and Dembele made sure he gets punished for that to make it 3-1 and kill the tie. 

Manchester City vs Lyon Post Match

Despite this latest defeat and now a hatrick of quarter-finals exits, Guardiola insisted that Manchester City will again look to challenge for Champions League. He has now asked his players to rest and take a break as the new season is just one month away.

He said: “Now it’s time for the players take a break, a short one, and we’re going to get in as many days as possible. Next season will be so strong and demanding but now it is not the time to think about this, we’ll try to sleep a little bit and then start to think about next season.” 

When asked about what he thinks of the Raheem Sterling miss he said that the team will talk about it in the hotel. Guardiola also refused to blame VAR or the refs for the controversial decision and said that he is not looking to make excuses.

While Rudi Garcia was pleased to see his side qualify for the Champions League semi-final. In his press conference before the game, he asked his players to take inspiration from French side PSG.

He said: “We weren’t favourites [to progress], but we believed in ourselves”. Garcia believes that he got his tactics spot on and his decision to not start Dembele paid off as well, he said “It was disappointing for Dembélé not to start, but I said to him that he was going to be very important. You have to expect everything and anything with Guardiola, but we won the tactical battle”.

Final Score

Manchester City 1 (De Bryune 69’) vs Lyon 3 ( Cornet 24’, Dembele 79’, 87’)

MAN CITY vs LYON | All Goals & Extended HD Highlights UCL 2020

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