Manchester City fans must have been over the moon when they saw that their team were going to face Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season. The French side are the underdogs in Europe’s premier club competition, and not many would fancy them to go all the way. On the other hand, City have one of the best and strongest squads in Europe, and a world-class manager in Pep Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice with Barcelona.
However, Guardiola could not guide Bayern Munich to Champions League success during his three years in charge of the German club, and his quest to lead City to European glory will have to wait for one more season at least. That’s because the Premier League giants went down 3-1 to Lyon in the quarter-finals on Saturday evening.
The Ligue 1 outfit took the lead after 24 minutes through Maxwel Cornet, but Kevin De Bruyne put City on level terms in the 69th minute after being fed through by Raheem Sterling. Former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele came on as a substitute in the second half and scored twice to guide his side to a 3-1 victory. Although there was a suspicion in the build-up to his first goal, for his second it was City goalkeeper Ederson to blame for failing to hold onto a routine shot from Houssem Aouar. Sterling also failed to score from just yards when it was 2-1 to Lyon.
It was yet another disappointing night for City in the Champions League, and here are the three things we learned.
Pep Guardiola should stay true to his style
On paper, City should beat Lyon with ease, but on Saturday evening, manager Guardiola made unnecessary complications with his tactics. The former Barcelona boss played three at the back and was quite conservative in his approach. It seemed that City were trying to contain Lyon in the first half rather than take the game to them. This is something that Guardiola has done in the latter stages of the Champions League, and which he needs to stop doing. City have a unique style, and they should keep true to it no matter what.
Manchester City cannot catch a break with VAR
City have been quite lucky with VAR in the Champions League, and on Saturday evening, the Premier League club’s fans will have a right to moan. It did look that in the build-up to Dembele’s first goal for Lyon which saw the French club go 2-1, the former Celtic striker had committed a foul, albeit unintentionally. City fans will remember the cruel fate they suffered against Tottenham Hotspur, and now this.
Moussa Dembele is class
Dembele is a class striker, and he showed that in the biggest of stages in club football. The 24-year-old banged in the goals left, right and centre when he was at Celtic, and the Frenchman seems to be doing the same at Lyon. According to WhoScored, the 24-year-old has now scored two goals in six Champions League starts. The former Fulham man also found the net 15 times and provided two assists in 24 Ligue 1 starts in 2019-20. Lyon did not have a good Ligue 1 campaign, and if they do not win the Champions League this season, then they will not play in the competition in 2020-21. With Betfair rating Lyon’s chances of winning the Champions League 18/1, It does seem unlikely that they will get the better of Bayern Munich in the semi-finals and then either RB Leipzig or Paris Saint-Germain in the final. Dembele could be a striker in demand this summer, and maybe the top clubs in Europe should pay more attention to the 24-year-old.
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