Saturday, April 21, 2018

Gent v Lyon: Valbuena demands cutting edge against Belgian champions

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 14 Sep 2015


Mathieu Valbuena has called on his Lyon team-mates to move on quickly from their disappointing draw with Lille and focus on a Champions League victory against Gent.

An inspired Vincent Enyeama helped Lille to a 0-0 draw against Hubert Fournier’s side, keeping Lyon five points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain after five Ligue 1 games.

Lyon are making their first Champions League group-stage appearance since the 2011-12 campaign at Gent on Wednesday and Valbuena wants a positive start against the Belgian champions.

“We’re disappointed. We weren’t rewarded for our efforts, we lacked cutting edge up front. It’s a shame,” he said to the club’s official website.

“We need to turn to Wednesday’s match now. We don’t have time to think too hard; we need to get off to a good start in the group stage.”

Long-term absentee Nabil Fekir (knee) will miss the whole of the group stage and Gueida Fofana is out, while Clement Grenier is a doubt after only recently returning to training.

Sergi Darder is short on match fitness and unlikely to feature but last season’s top scorer Alexandre Lacazette managed the full 90 minutes against Lille despite a recent back problem.

Gent claimed the Belgian title for the first time in their 115-year history in May and their only previous Champions League experience came in a 6-1 aggregate defeat to Dynamo Kiev in qualifying in 2010.

With only one defeat in their last 16 games in all competitions and having already clinched the Belgian Super Cup, head coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck has warned that his side will be no pushovers in Europe.

“We’ve a difficult game ahead. We have a team that is hard to get past, with excellent defensive organisation. A lot has changed since last year,” he told the club’s website.

Erik Johannson (knee) is out, meaning Gent are without their only player with Champions League experience, while Rami Gershon is sidelined with a similar complaint.

To add to their defensive worries, Uros Vitas (hamstring) is a doubt, although Stefan Mitrovic returned in the draw with Zulte Waregem on Saturday.

Gent have failed to beat French opposition in seven attempts in European competition, but Lyon have managed just one victory in seven fixtures away from home in the Champions League.


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