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Match Report: Apoel Nicosia 1-0 Lyon (Agg 1-1) Apoel win 4-3 on pens

Thursday 8th March 2012
Apoel Nicosia made history to become the first Cyprian team to make the Quarter Finals of the Champions League as they knocked Lyon out on penalties after fighting back from a 1-0 first leg deficit at the GSP stadium.

Gustavo Manduca opened the scoring in the early stages but will miss the Quarter Finals as he was sent off for picking up two yellow cards, the first of which was for celebrating the goal.

The game went all the way through to penalties and it was the unlikely pair of Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos who missed the crucial penalties as it ended 4-3.

Lyon was sent into shock when Apoel found the net in only the ninth minute. Constantinos Charalambides laid a ball towards the back post for Manduca to fire home. As he wheeled away in celebration he was then booked for removing his shirt, which would later prove to be a costly mistake.

Ederson then nearly ruined the party, his free kick almost caught out Dionisios Chiotis who had come of his line expecting the cross but had to backpedal as the ball flew towards the top corner. Bastos then delivered a sumptuous cross for Ederson, but his flying header sailed wide.

Apoel then countered brilliantly, a swift move allowed Esteban Andrés Solari time and space on the edge of the box, but he shot straight at Hugo Lloris who saved with ease.

The home side then nearly took the aggregate lead after the break but Aly Cissokho got away with a defensive clearance as he nearly turned into his own net from a Sousa in-swinging free kick.

Lisandro later forced a save from the keeper as his header looked destined for the back post before Lyon made a couple of changes. Bafetimbi Gomis and Lacazette, who had been left out as Lyon had gone for a defensive tactic, were re-introduced in a bid to find the winner.

Manduca was given his marching orders after a clumsy challenge on Lacazette earned him a second yellow. Apoel will now be missing their talisman for the last eight.

With the dreaded penalties looming neither team looked like they wanted to lose it and the game became a tactical stalemate especially for Apoel with a man less. Lyon will now be kicking themselves for not taking the initiative and allowing the game to go to penalties.

With the first six spot kicks finding the net it was only a matter of time before someone buckled under the pressure and it was Lacazette and Bastos who had penalties brilliantly saved by Chiotis to send Apoel into the Quarter finals.
Glenn Noble

Total articles: 20

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