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Lyon on guard as giantkillers APOEL come to town

"Our defeat by Caen awoke us to the fact that it is never easy to get a good result," said Olympique Lyonnais coach Rémi Garde ahead of underdogs APOEL FC's visit.

Lyon on guard as giantkillers APOEL come to town
Lyon on guard as giantkillers APOEL come to town ©UEFA.com

Olympique Lyonnais coach Rémi Garde insists that there is no danger of his charges underestimating UEFA Champions League dark horses APOEL FC in Tuesday's round of 16 first leg after being served a painful reminder of what it is like to lose unexpectedly at the weekend, while his opposite number Ivan Jovanović is hopeful his side can capitalise on the high number of fixtures Lyon have had to play over the last fortnight.

Coach Rémi Garde
Whoever the opponent, you have to improve your level to perform well in the Champions League. We know a lot of people believe we will easily win against APOEL. Of course, it's not our opinion. APOEL have had a wonderful group stage, they deserve a lot of respect, like any team that has reached the knockout stages.

My players are aware of their strengths and especially their ability to counterattack, as they have watched several videos of them. Our recent defeat by Caen in Ligue 1 awoke us to the fact that in football it is never easy to get a good result. We are really focused on this match and we know that we'll have to give our best to get through.

Weekend result
Saturday: Lyon 1-2 SM Caen (Lisandro 86pen; Hamouma 13, Nabab 73)
Lloris; Réveillère, Bakary Koné, Umtiti, Cissokho; Gonalons, Grenier, Briand (Ederson 66), Bastos (Lacazette 79); Lisandro, Gomis

• Lyon suffered their third loss in 33 home matches against a struggling Caen side who had been without a win in over three months. Romain Hamouma's early goal meant Lyon fell behind for the fourth successive game.

Team news
Dejan Lovren is yet to play this year because of an Achilles problem and John Mensah has just returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty.  There is better news in the goalkeeping department, with Rémy Vercoutre and Anthony Lopes available after lengthy lay-offs.

Coach Ivan Jovanović
Lyon have been one of the ten best teams in Europe over the past decade when you consider that they have played in the Champions League every year. Only a few sides have managed that. They have experience, and the aim will be to conserve our chances of going through before the return leg. We had a wonderful run during the group stage and we've respected all of our opponents. It will be no different against Lyon: a solid, compact and serious squad.

They haven't been getting the results they wanted in Ligue 1 but they remain dangerous and there could be a reaction in the Champions League. We haven't forgotten, though, that they have played five games in the last two weeks. The knockout stage is the 'true' Champions League. There's a lot at stake. We couldn't believe we were here at the beginning of the season. I honestly don't know what our best level is but I'm hoping that we can still improve.

Weekend result
Friday: APOEL 2-1 Ethnikos Achnas FC (Charalambides 23 41; Vattis 80)
Chiotis; Poursaitides, Kaká, Morais, Alexandrou; Hélder Sousa, Hélio Pinto, Charalambides (Solari 74), Marcinho (Satsias 86); Tričkovski, Aílton (Manduca 68)

• APOEL recorded only their fourth win in eight outings in what has been an indifferent start to 2012. Since a 9-1 Cypriot Cup victory against second division Akritas Chlorakas FC on 11 January, the Nicosia outfit have scored just five times in six outings – their most barren spell in front of goal this season.

Team news
Midfielder Nuno Morais was utilised as a makeshift centre-back on Friday because of injuries to Marcelo Oliveira (calf) and Paulo Jorge (gluteus). Another defender, William Boaventura, was suspended. Oliveira is definitely out on Tuesday meaning Kaká will step in while Adorno is doubtful with a calf sprain that has forced him to miss the club's last two matches.

Match fact
APOEL recorded three successive away draws in the group stage, avoiding defeat at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Porto and FC Zenit St Petersburg. Including the qualifying rounds and play-offs, their away record this season is W2 D3 L1. In those six games their miserly defence has conceded only three goals, keeping three clean sheets.