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3 things learned from Lyon’s upset of Man City

Man City - Lyon

LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 15: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 15, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Michael Regan - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

UEFA via Getty Images

Man City - Lyon recap: Manchester City’s long-held dream of winning the UEFA Champions League reached another disappointing end on Saturday as Pep Guardiola’s side fell to Lyon, 3-1, in the two sides’ quarterfinal clash.

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Lyon have a semifinal date with Bayern Munich, who destroyed and embarrassed Barcelona to the tune of 8-2, on Friday.

The Ligue 1 side jumped out to an early lead in the 24th minute, when Maxwel Cornet capped off a devastating counter-attack.

City drew level in the 69th minute, though, courtesy of their star men Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne (more on them in a moment).

The scoreline didn’t last long, though, as Lyon hit back just 10 minutes later. Moussa Dembele bagged the winner and a late insurance goal.

Here’s a look at what we learned from Man City - Lyon, a truly memorable Champions League quarterfinal upset.


Why does he do this? Why does he always do this? When Pep Guardiola plays not to lose — rather than to play their normal game and dominate — in the latter rounds of the Champions League, his team typically struggles and oftentimes loses. Not only do they tend to invite far too much pressure onto themselves when they don’t have the ball, but more importantly, they lack any semblance of creativity or imagination from 80 percent of their starting outfield players. Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are brilliant, world-class players, no doubt about it, but not even they can create enough chances to win the Champions League with virtually no help from their teammates. An example: Only De Bruyne finds only Sterling in the first half…

Through the game’s first 45 minutes, City had taken just five shots and connected on just one key pass. Go back and watch how they played in their back-to-back Premier League title-winning seasons. It looked nothing like the Fernandinho-Rodrigo-Gundogan midfield we saw on Saturday. Riyad Mahrez came on for Fernandinho in the 56th minute, and City were instantly far more dangerous.

[ MORE: Three things learned as Bayern Munich hammer Barcelona 8-2 ]


With Saturday’s result, City have failed to reach the semifinals of the Champions League in Guardiola’s four seasons at the helm. They managed a final-four place just once — in 2015-16, the season before Guardiola’s arrival — since their rise to Europe’s top table. Three seasons in a row they have been to the quarterfinals, and once out in the round of 16. Perhaps their Champions League misses are best summed up by Sterling’s 86th-minute miss.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]


While the midfield setup is clearly an issue for City in these late-round Champions League ties, center forward remains an issue as well. At this point, it almost doesn’t matter if Sergio Aguero is healthy and playing (he wasn’t on Saturday). Aguero is hardly at his very best at the age of 32 — in truth, he’s not seemed 100 percent fit and sharp in a couple years, at least — and while Gabriel Jesus is a fantastic talent, he doesn’t seem like the type of forward who leads the line for a Champions League-winning side, which is exactly what City fancy themselves.

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