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Lyon stunned as APOEL fairy tale continues

Published: Wednesday 7 March 2012, 23.47CET
APOEL FC 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais (agg: 1-1, APOEL win 4-3 on pens)
Dionisios Chiotis saved spot kicks from Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos as APOEL's fairy-tale campaign continued into the quarter-finals. 
by Andrew Haslam
from GSP Stadium

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Published: Wednesday 7 March 2012, 23.47CET

Lyon stunned as APOEL fairy tale continues

APOEL FC 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais (agg: 1-1, APOEL win 4-3 on pens)
Dionisios Chiotis saved spot kicks from Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos as APOEL's fairy-tale campaign continued into the quarter-finals. 

APOEL FC held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out to finally end the challenge of Olympique Lyonnais and win a tension-filled UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg in Nicosia.

Trailing 1-0 after the first match, APOEL had failed to register in three previous meetings with French opponents yet within nine minutes Gustavo Manduca had belied that statistic to level the aggregate score. Urged on by their passionate supporters, the hosts pushed for a second but neither they nor their opponents were able to find it, sending the tie into extra time.

Although Manduca then collected a second yellow card, Dionisios Chiotis denied Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos in the shoot-out as APOEL became the first Cypriot side to reach the European Cup quarter-finals.

A banner behind the goal Lyon were defending in the first period proclaimed 'Feel the terror of Nicosia' and, early on in their maiden visit to Cyprus, the visitors were quaking. The ball broke to Constantinos Charalambides down the right and he escaped the attentions of two defenders to send a low cross towards the far post, where Manduca slotted in.

Despite leaving their first-leg goalscorer, Lacazette, and the in-form Bafétimbi Gomis on the bench, Lyon regrouped swiftly and began to keep possession for lengthy periods. Initially they were restricted to efforts from distance, Chiotis clawing Ederson's curling left-wing free-kick away from the top corner. Yet gradually they started to pick holes in the APOEL rearguard, with Bastos heading Lisandro's cross too high.

Ederson sent another header past the post with half-time approaching, although Ivan Jovanović's men looked equally dangerous when they broke quickly. Esteban Solari was just unable to connect with Manduca's low centre, before the striker shot straight at Hugo Lloris having been played in by Hélder Sousa's probing crossfield pass.

As the second half kicked off a Lyon side who have struggled away from home this season came under more pressure, typified when Aly Cissokho headed Sousa's inswinging free-kick against his own crossbar. APOEL continue to stretch Lyon, whose defence was exposed again by Sousa's clever pass, although this time Bakary Koné recovered to deny Aílton.

Solari then nearly flicked in another Charalambides cross, while at the other end Chiotis was quickly at full stretch to turn Lisandro's header behind with extra time looming. The vociferous APOEL fans were seemingly unaffected by nerves, however, and their side passed up a golden chance with two minutes remaining, Aílton shooting weakly at Lloris with the supporting Nuno Morais unmarked.

Kim Källström's set pieces seemed Lyon's likeliest source of a goal in the additional 30 minutes, Paulo Jorge inadvertently heading one narrowly wide before Koné nodded another straight at Chiotis. A trip on Lacazette brought Manduca a second caution, yet within moments APOEL joy was unconfined as Aílton, Morais, Nektarios Alexandrou and Ivan Tričkovski all scored from the spot to set the stage for Chiotis' heroics.

Last updated: 27/11/12 10.55CET

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