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APOEL plan hostile welcome as Lyon come calling

Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 19.45CET
APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović says the Cypriot club's fans would wake up proud on Wednesday, ahead of a night he hopes will end with a famous victory over Olympique Lyonnais.
by John Leonidou
from Nicosia
Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 19.45CET

APOEL plan hostile welcome as Lyon come calling

APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović says the Cypriot club's fans would wake up proud on Wednesday, ahead of a night he hopes will end with a famous victory over Olympique Lyonnais.

APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović says the Cypriot underdogs "have nothing to lose and everything to gain" as they seek to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against out-of-sorts Olympique Lyonnais. The French side suffered a 2-0 defeat at AS Nancy-Lorraine on Saturday, and have won a less than daunting five of their 18 away games in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League this season. Yet with a quarter-final place in the offing, Rémi Garde is confident the visitors can put all that behind them.

There is always pressure before games, but we have nothing to lose and everything to gain
Ivan Jovanović
We know things have not been that great for us in Ligue 1 and a victory here would provide a real lift
Rémi Garde

APOEL
Coach Ivan Jovanović 
Lyon were favourites when the draw was made and they are still favourites. This is a very important game for us: we have a chance of sealing a quarter-final place. The prize makes this match one of the most important in the club's history. It will be different to the first leg and every little detail will decide which team advances.

The clubs' domestic campaigns have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of this tie: the Champions League is a totally different competition. All APOEL fans should wake up feeling proud on Wednesday. What this team has achieved in Europe is incredible and I am sure they will be firmly by our side once again.

There is always pressure before games, but we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. To eliminate a team like Lyon, though, you need to have the perfect game. And while we have overturned a 1-0 deficit before [against Wisła Kraków in the play-offs], Lyon are much more experienced.

Weekend result
Saturday: Ermis Aradippou FC 1-4 APOEL (Papathanasiou 84; Solari 6 53, Morais 21, Paulo Jorge 50)
Chiotis; Solomou, Paulo Jorge (Kaká 78), Oliveira, Alexandrou; Pinto, Morais (Adorno 66), Charalambides, Manduca (Sousa 57); Solari, Aílton.

• Paulo Jorge and Nuno Morais scored their first league goals of the season (the latter's first in all competitions) as APOEL beat bottom side Ermis. Esteban Solari, meanwhile, took his tally to 54 goals in 94 league games over two spells for the club, who have never lost when he has registered.

Team news
Hélio Pinto serves a one-match ban but Marcelo Oliviera and Aldo Adorno, who missed the first leg with calf injuries, have since returned to action. Ivan Tričkovski is doubtful with a back problem and if he does not not recover Marcinho is likely to take his place.

Lyon
Coach Rémi Garde 
We want a good performance in what is a very different competition to Ligue 1 and, obviously, we want to qualify. We have targets in this competition and there is pressure to achieve them. But our league campaign does not put extra pressure on us here in the Champions League: they are two different competitions. We know things have not been that great for us in Ligue 1 and a victory here would provide a real lift.

One team will emerge victorious from this tie and both teams have chances to qualify. This game will be different to the first leg but it is impossible to predict exactly how. We have a 1-0 advantage and we need to build on it. We need to not only defend but also to score. We have enough quality in the side to achieve both those targets. We are strong going forward but we also need to be strong at the back.

We didn't know much about APOEL when the draw was made but after seeing them, I know that they are a well-organised, disciplined side that know how to defend. We are in the last 16 of the competition and we want to move on to the next stage.

Weekend result
Saturday: AS Nancy-Lorraine 2-0 Lyon (Puygrenier 66, Bakar 75)
Lloris; Réveillère, Cris, B Koné, Cissokho; Källström, Gonalons, Briand (Lacazette 72), Bastos (Ederson 63); Gomis, Lisandro.

• Garde's team, unchanged from the XI held 4-4 by Paris Saint-Germain FC on 25 February, were left without a win in five league games. It was Lyon's eighth defeat in 14 games this season on their travels in Ligue 1, as many as they suffered home and away all last term.

Team news
Dejan Lovren could make his first appearance of 2012 after recovering from an Achilles problem but neither John Mensah (hamstring) nor Yoann Gourcuff (adductor) have made the trip.

Match fact  
APOEL have proved tough opponents in Nicosia in recent times. Although beaten 2-0 by FC Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday six with qualification already assured, APOEL had previously gone nine European home games undefeated – six wins and three draws including 2-1 successes against FC Zenit St Petersburg and FC Porto this season.

Last updated: 25/09/14 6.31CET

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