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Champions League PICS: Juventus, Real Madrid shocked

February 27, 2020 07:28 IST
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Juventus stunned at Lyon; Manchester City win at Madrid in last-16 first leg

Lucas Tousart scores for Olympique Lyonnais  in the Champions League Round of 16 First Leg against Juventus, at Groupama Stadium, in Lyon, France, on Wednesday.

IMAGE: Lucas Tousart scores for Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League Round of 16 First Leg against Juventus, at Groupama Stadium, in Lyon, France, on Wednesday. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Juventus's hopes of reaching the Champions League last eight suffered a blow when the two-times European Cup winners slumped to a 1-0 defeat in their last-16 first leg at Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

 

Midfielder Lucas Tousart scored the only goal in the opening half to give Lyon, who are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010, a deserved win.

It was Lyon's first victory over Juventus, who suffered their first defeat in the competition this season.

Serie A leaders Juventus lacked quality, with Cristiano Ronaldo rarely getting into scoring positions, and they will need to improve in the return leg on March 17 if they are to progress.

About 2,700 Juventus fans travelled from Piedmont, a region neighbouring the coronavirus-hit Lombardy, as the game went ahead as planned despite concern over the virus.

On the pitch, Lyon were at their best, with Houssem Aouar and new signing Bruno Guimaraes inspiring their team.

"We were not the favourites and rightfully so, but we believed that we could unsettle Juventus," said midfielder Aouar.

"But let's not get carried away, there's one full game left."

Ronaldo reacts after missing a chance

IMAGE: Juventus's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after frittering away a chance to score. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Juventus have only won four of their last eight competitive matches and captain Leonardo Bonucci pointed out that the team had improved.

"We messed up our first half, sometimes it happens," he said. "We gifted one half and they scored at a moment when they were good at hurting us."

After a cagey start, Lyon made a clear chance when Karl Toko-Ekambi's header at the near post from Houssem Aouar's corner hit the crossbar.

Aouar then burst into the area and delivered a cutback that Tousart placed into the top corner from close range to put the French side ahead after 31 minutes.

Juve were at the time down to 10 men as Mathias De Ligt was getting treatment for blood on his head after being accidentally stamped on by team mate Alex Sandro.

The visitors threatened through Ronaldo but the Portuguese shot just wide at the end of a counter-attack as Juve looked short on confidence.

The Italian side increased the pressure after the interval as Lyon tried to sit back and hope to hurt Maurizio Sarri's team on the break.

Paulo Dybala went close for Juve with a volley, substitute Gonzalo Higuain wasted a couple of chances and Dybala had a goal ruled out for offside as Lyon held firm.

Manchester City rally to overcome Real Madrid

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy after scoring Manchester City's second goal in the Champions League Round of 16 First Leg against Real Madrid,

IMAGE: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy after scoring Manchester City's second goal in the Champions League Round of 16 First Leg against Real Madrid, at Santiago Bernabeu, in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Manchester City finally produced a Champions League performance worthy of their status as one of European football's elite clubs by beating Real Madrid 2-1 away in the last-16 first leg after pulling off a stunning late fightback.

Kevin De Bruyne kept his cool to beat Belgium team mate Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute to give City the lead after Gabriel Jesus had headed home a cross from De Bruyne to pull the visitors level in the 78th minute.

Isco had given Real the lead on the hour mark following a sweeping counterattack but the 13-times European champions' night soon unravelled, culminating in captain Sergio Ramos being sent off for hauling down Jesus in a bid to prevent a third City goal.

City coach Pep Guardiola, who has not gone past the quarter-final in his three previous seasons with the club, was delighted with how his side turned the match around but also said the tie was still wide open.

"Winning in the Bernabeu gives us great satisfaction, it's incredible for us and not something this club is used to. I'm very pleased with the result and the performance, we showed great personality," he said before sounding a note of caution.

"If there is one club who was capable of turning a tie around it is Real Madrid, they have the history and experience in this competition to do it."

Isco puts Real Madrid ahead

IMAGE: Isco puts Real Madrid ahead. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Ramos will be suspended for the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 17 while City's influential defender Aymeric Laporte was forced off injured in the first half, another setback in a season marked by fitness troubles.

City went into the match with a two-year ban from European competition hanging around their necks for defying UEFA's rules on financial fair play although the club submitted an appeal against the sanction earlier this week.

The visiting supporters chanted against Europe's organising body throughout the game and after they had completed their comeback the sanction had become a badge of pride for the gleeful fans.

Guardiola opted to leave his top scorers Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero out of the starting lineup despite them getting a combined 40 goals in all competitions this season.

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring Manchester City's first goal.

IMAGE: Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring Manchester City's first goal. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Yet he turned to Sterling in the second half and the England forward earned the penalty from which De Bruyne snatched the winner, drawing a foul from Real's Dani Carvajal.

Brazil striker Jesus led City's line from the start and had their two best chances in the first half, first drawing a save from Madrid keeper Courtois then seeing a shot hurriedly scuffed off the line by three Real players right before halftime.

Real's best chance of the first half came when Karim Benzema had a header saved by Ederson and the ball fell to Vinicius Jr. but the teenager fell over just as he was shaping to shoot into the unguarded net.

The Brazilian was not fazed by the miss, though, and played a crucial part in breaking the deadlock by chasing down Fernandinho and laying on the pass for Isco to score.

Real's fans felt they were on the familiar path to victory in their favourite competition and began to sing 'We are the Kings of Europe', but it was City, whose only European trophy came in the 1970 Cup Winners' Cup, who had the last laugh.

"There's no explanation for what happened, we had 75 spectacular minutes and in the last 15 minutes we didn't do what we needed to do, we lacked intensity and control and they had two attacks and scored twice," said Real's Casemiro.

"But the tie is not over, if there is a team that is capable of a comeback it is Real Madrid."

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