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Lyon face uphill struggle to overhaul Ajax

Published: Monday 7 November 2011, 8.45CET
Olympique Lyonnais have become accustomed to reaching the knockout rounds but they have their work cut out this time with AFC Ajax holding a three-point advantage in Group D.
Lyon face uphill struggle to overhaul Ajax
Lyon are seeking a much-needed victory against Ajax ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 7 November 2011, 8.45CET

Lyon face uphill struggle to overhaul Ajax

Olympique Lyonnais have become accustomed to reaching the knockout rounds but they have their work cut out this time with AFC Ajax holding a three-point advantage in Group D.

Successive defeats by Real Madrid CF have left Olympique Lyonnais with an uphill task to qualify from Group D and a three-point deficit to try and make up on AFC Ajax as the teams meet in France.

• The 14 September fixture in Amsterdam ended goalless. Lyon followed that with a 2-0 home win against GNK Dinamo Zagreb but then felt the full force of Madrid's scintillating form, losing 4-0 in Spain and then 2-0 at Stade de Gerland.

• Ajax lost 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu on matchday two but then posted two victories against Dinamo. They won 2-0 away, where Christian Eriksen and Derk Boerrigter scored second-half goals, and 4-0 at home. Gregory van der Wiel and Miralem Sulejmani scored in the first 25 minutes with Siem de Jong and substitute Nicolás Lodeiro adding further strikes in the second period.

Previous meetings
• The clubs also met in the 2002/03 group stage, Ajax winning 2-0 in France to follow up their 2-1 home matchday one victory. In the first game Zlatan Ibrahimović scored twice in the opening 34 minutes with Lyon's response limited to Sonny Anderson's goal six minutes from time. Abubakari Yakubu was sent off late on for the home team.

• In Lyon, Steven Pienaar gave the visitors an early lead and although they had Cristian Chivu sent off in the second half they managed to double their advantage through Rafael van der Vaart's added-time effort.

• The lineups for the game at Stade de Gerland on 30 October 2002 were:
Lyon: Coupet, Edmílson, Caçapa, Violeau (Vairelles 59), Juninho Pernambucano, Anderson, Carrière (Luyindula 80), Bréchet, Govou, Müller, Dhorasoo
Ajax: Didulica, Trabelsi, Bergdølmo, Galásek, Chivu, Ibrahimović (Van der Meyde 77), Pienaar, Abdelhamed (Van der Vaart 55), Maxwell, De Jong, Sikora (Yakubu 65).

• Lyon are unbeaten in their three other home games against Dutch opponents, all in the UEFA Champions League, recording a win (4-0) and draw (1-1) against PSV Eindhoven, and a 3-1 victory against sc Heerenveen.

• Ajax, who are competing in the UEFA Champions League for the tenth time and who last reached the knockout rounds in 2005/06, faced French opponents in last season's group stage, both games against AJ Auxerre ending in 2-1 wins for the home team. They have lost on each of their last three visits to France following the 2002 success at Lyon.

Match background
• Lyon have made it through to the knockout phase in the past eight campaigns. Last season Madrid eliminated them in the round of 16, winning 4-1 on aggregate.

• Before the defeat by Madrid on matchday four, Lyon had lost only twice in 20 home UEFA Champions League fixtures, including the play-off round. Both reverses came against FC Bayern München.

Team ties
• André Ooijer was part of the PSV team that beat Lyon in the 2004/05 quarter-finals, scoring in the shoot-out when the Dutch side became the first to win a two-legged UEFA Champions League tie on penalties. The defender was also in the PSV outfit when Lyon won 1-0 away and 4-0 at home in the round of 16 a year later.

• Oojier played in the Netherlands' 3-1 friendly win against Sweden at the Amsterdam ArenA on 19 November 2008, Kim Källström scoring for the visitors.

• Ooijer helped the Netherlands to a 4-1 win against France in a UEFA EURO 2008 group encounter in Berne, Bafétimbi Gomis coming on after an hour for Les Bleus.

• Frank de Boer beat Lyon 2-0 (home) and 3-2 (away) while playing for FC Barcelona in the 2001/02 first group stage. The Ajax coach was captain of the Netherlands team, scoring the second goal, as they beat France 3-2 in a UEFA EURO 2000 group encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA.

• Michel Bastos played for BV Excelsior, on loan from Feyenoord, in 2002/03, losing 2-1 and 2-0 to Ajax.

• Hugo Lloris, Anthony Réveillère and second-half substitute Maxime Gonalons were in the France side that drew 0-0 against Toby Alderweireld's Belgium in a Paris friendly on 15 November.

Last updated: 20/11/11 21.28CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007640/prematch/background/index.html#lyon+face+uphill+struggle+overhaul+ajax

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