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Lyon v Valencia: First win the focus after opening-game frustration

Lyon and Valencia endured frustrating opening games in Champions League Group H and will seek to kick-start their qualification bids at Stade de Gerland on Tuesday.

Hubert Fournier’s men were held 1-1 by a Gent side who had two players sent off – with Alexandre Lacazette missing a late penalty – while the Liga outfit suffered a 3-2 home loss to Zenit.

Valencia will hope to draw some inspiration from the previous group-stage showdowns between the two sides, when the Spaniards prevailed in both matches back in 2000-01.

That was during a memorable era for Valencia, who reached back-to-back Champions League finals at the turn of the century and won La Liga in 2001-02 and 2003-04.

But Nuno Espirito Santo’s charges have failed to impress domestically so far in this campaign and their last four games have yielded only one win. 

The five-goal thriller against Zenit was in stark contrast to Valencia’s top-flight matches, where there have only been five goals in six games.

Only Malaga have scored fewer in La Liga, but Valencia do boast a defensive record better than every side except Real Madrid.

Valencia have already enjoyed some success against Ligue 1 opponents this season, having beaten Monaco over two legs to qualify for the competition proper. Indeed, in their last 11 away matches against French sides, Valencia have lost only twice.

Lyon, hosting their first Champions League pool match since 2011, head into the game licking their wounds from a 3-1 loss at Bordeaux.

Fournier declared himself angry with the performance and result, urging his side to bounce back against Valencia.

It was just the second defeat of the league season for Lyon, who sit sixth in the table but already eight points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Lyon do not boast quite the same European pedigree as their visitors. Even during their seven-year dominance of Ligue 1, when they won the title every season from 2001-02 to 2007-08, Lyon never ventured past the last eight.

Their one foray into the semi-finals, in 2009-10, ended with a 4-0 aggregate drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Valencia will be without defender Jose Gaya (hamstring) and goalkeeper Matthew Ryan (knee), while Lyon’s injury woes see the likes of Nabil Fekir (knee) Rafael (thigh) sidelined.

Sun 27 Sep, 2015
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