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Milan out to master Lyon

Published: Thursday 30 March 2006, 1.01CET
Olympique Lyonnais have happy memories of past San Siro trips, although they come up against an AC Milan team who will feel history is firmly on their side.
Published: Thursday 30 March 2006, 1.01CET

Milan out to master Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais have happy memories of past San Siro trips, although they come up against an AC Milan team who will feel history is firmly on their side.

• When Olympique Lyonnais played away from home in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final 12 months ago, a 1-1 draw proved insufficient and they eventually bowed out on penalties to PSV Eindhoven. A similar result this time round however, would be enough to overcome the might of AC Milan and claim a semi-final berth for the first time.

Top-class Coupet
• Last week's 0-0 draw at the Stade Gerland - the inaugural meeting of the teams in UEFA club competition, and the first time Lyon had been involved in a goalless draw in the European Champion Clubs' Cup - finished with the French team grateful to have survived.

• Milan created a number of chances to score but Grégory Coupet proved a difficult barrier to pass. Andriy Shevchenko had particular cause to curse the goalkeeper's excellence but Lyon recovered and went on to enjoy the better of a pulsating second period.

Milan favoured
• The statistics support the theory that Milan, six-times champions of the European Champion Clubs' Cup, are the most likely of these two sides to reach the last four.

• They have never lost at the San Siro to French opponents, winning six and drawing two of the eight games.

• In this season's competition they have scored ten goals in their four home games and since losing two home fixtures in the 2003/04 group stage, they have won eleven of their 12 fixtures on their own turf with PSV, in this season's group, the only visitors to escape unbeaten. They earned a 0-0 draw.

• One notable Milan reverse at the hands of French opposition was the 1-0 defeat by Olympique de Marseille in the 1992/93 UEFA Champions League final played in Munich.

Wave of goals
• Carlo Ancelotti's men, aiming for a semi-final berth for the third time in four seasons, sailed into this season's quarter-finals on a wave of goals, winning their home leg against FC Bayern München 4-1 after the game in Germany was tied at 1-1. The two goals scored home and away by Shevchenko raised his total in this year's competition to eight – two more than his nearest rivals - while Filippo Inzaghi scored twice in the home leg.

Inter beaten
• In the 2004/05 quarter-finals, Milan faced their city rivals FC Internazionale Milano and went through after a 2-0 'home' victory with the second leg abandoned because of crowd trouble. A 3-0 win was subsequently awarded to Milan, making it a 5-0 success on aggregate.

• They then progressed to the final in Istanbul, took a 3-0 lead over Liverpool FC only to suffer heartbreak as the English side staged an incredible comeback and eventually prevailed on penalties.

Juninho back
• Lyon will welcome back Juninho Pernambucano after he missed the first game through suspension but will be without the services of Portuguese midfielder Tiago after he picked up his third caution in the competition late in last week's game.

• They have a good record when travelling to face Italian opposition, winning three of their four fixtures, including 2-1 successes from two trips to the San Siro to face Inter. Firstly in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup second round, secondly in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage when Sidney Govou and Sonny Anderson gave them a 2-0 lead before Fabio Cannavaro pulled one back.

Bad memories
• Gérard Houllier's side are desperate to erase their quarter-final memories in the last two seasons. Last year's 4-2 defeat on penalties to PSV (both legs had ended 1-1) was preceded by an aggregate defeat by eventual winners FC Porto. They lost 2-0 away and drew 2-2 in the return.

• Following that Porto defeat they have lost just one of their subsequent 20 UEFA Champions League games and, equally encouraging, have remained unbeaten in their last six away games in the competition.

Tiago on target
• Gérard Houllier's side exacted revenge on PSV in this season's first knockout round, winning 4-0 at home following a single-goal victory in the away leg. Tiago scored twice in the first half at Stade Gerland to build on their narrow success in the Netherlands.

Home success?
• Should Lyon go through they will be one step nearer to becoming the third side to win the UEFA Champions League in their own country with this year's final being staged in Paris on 17 May. Juventus were the first to manage it in the 1995/96 campaign (Rome) and BV Borussia Dortmund matched the feat the following season (Munich).

Semi-final opponents
• The projected semi-final opponents for the winners are SL Benfica or FC Barcelona - both teams Milan have beaten in European Cup finals. The first leg of that tie finished 0-0.

Last updated: 02/04/06 14.41CET

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