Ivan Jovanovic’s men have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League thanks to a brave victory over the Ligue 1 outfitAPOEL’s memorable Champions League run continued after they defeated Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 in Cyprus before moving through 4-3 on penalty kicks.
It was the Cypriots who scored the only goal of the match after only seven minutes when Manduca, who was dismissed late in extra time, sent the packed home support into raptures.
Ivan Jovanovic’s side were not merely defensive spectators thereafter, but although it was the visitors who did much of the pressing, the French side crash out, Bastos missing the final penalty.
APOEL started this encounter with a stance far removed from their usual dour, defensive approach, and within 10 minutes they had their reward as they got back on terms on aggregate. Constantinos Charalambides took advantage of very sloppy defending from the French, and after Anthony Reveillere failed miserably to deal with the cross, Manduca converted from close range.
Lyon steadied themselves and would enjoy the better of the first half, though they rarely seriously tested Dionisis Chiotis. The goalkeeper’s misjudgement of an Ederson cross forced him to produce a fine stretching save, and minutes later Michel Bastos would head over after Lisandro had finally got behind the home defence.
The best chance for the guests, though, came seven minutes before the break, when the Brazilian’s wicked centre was met by the head of Ederson, whose effort glanced centimetres wide.
Despite their attacking play, Lyon looked lethargic at the back and could on more than one occasion have been caught. Charalambides would hit the side netting when well placed, and just before the interval Esteban Solari had a shot kicked clear by Hugo Lloris.
Predictably, the second half was a nervy affair, with tensions running high from the outset, when the referee overlooked a physical clash between Cris and Marcelo Oliveira. It was the Cypriots who made the better impression early on, though it was Aly Cissokho who went closest to beating Lloris as his header skimmed his own bar.
With only 20 minutes remaining, Charalambides made another deadly burst down the right channel, but his dangerous low cross was touched wide by Esteban Solari, who perhaps should have scored.
Lisandro went closest for Remi Garde’s men, as he was left free at the far post to aim a header towards the corner of the net, though Chiotis got a fingertip to turn the effort wide.
Extra time was to provide half an hour of extreme tension, with Paulo Jorge nearly diverting a Kallstrom free-kick into his own net soon after the resumption. Once more chances were limited, with neither side over-committing forward, though it was the French outfit that offered the greater threat as their hosts tired.
Indeed, this was the primary cause of Manduca's second yellow card, which saw him dismissed with 115 minutes on the clock.
Even without their talisman, APOEL were so buoyant they progressed to the quarter-finals, with Michel Bastos missing the crucial Lyon kick in the shootout, Chiotis was inspired as he made blocks from the wide player and also from Lacazette, earning hero status and ensuring the APOEL story continues unabated.