Olympique Lyonnais captain Claudio Caçapa remains confident of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals despite the French club being held to a goalless draw by AC Milan at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday.
The result leaves Lyon facing a daunting task when they travel to the San Siro for the second leg next Tuesday but it could have been worse for Gérard Houllier's men had Andriy Shevchenko converted one of three early chances. Caçapa admitted he was relieved to see Lyon survive with their goal intact. "I knew it wouldn't be easy tonight against attackers like Shevchenko and [Alberto] Gilardino, and we were stretched at times," the Brazilian told uefa.com. "Milan started better than us, they were faster and more determined, and the first 20 minutes were particularly difficult. But thanks to Grégory Coupet we managed to keep them at bay."
A series of inspirational saves from the French international helped calm Lyon's nerves, and the home side, evidently missing the influence of suspended midfielder Juninho Pernambucano, gradually came into proceedings. The second half was a more balanced affair, giving Caçapa reason to believe that Lyon can advance. "A lot has been said about this Milan team but we showed tonight, particularly in the second half, that we are capable of matching them," he said.
"One of our main aims was to keep a clean sheet and we've achieved that," Caçapa continued. "It's vital not to concede at home and maybe we have learned a lesson from last season when we drew 1-1 in the first leg against PSV Eindhoven. From our point of view this is a satisfactory result, even if we set out to try to win the game. The tie is now evenly poised and I'd say our chances are still 50-50."
Lyon have scored in every away match in the UEFA Champions League this season, and the return of Juninho is likely to give them added faith. "If we score in Milan we'll be in a strong position," the 29-year-old said. "In general we score at least one goal a game. We failed to do that here, but hopefully we'll make up for it in Milan. Having Juninho back will be a great help, of course. You're always going to miss a player of his quality and hopefully his return will give us something extra."
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