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Lacazette rewards Lyon dominance against APOEL

Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 APOEL FC
The French side gained a narrow advantage to take to Cyprus for the second leg thanks to Alexandre Lacazette's deflected second-half strike.

Lacazette rewards Lyon dominance against APOEL
Lacazette rewards Lyon dominance against APOEL ©UEFA.com

Alexandre Lacazette continued his fine recent scoring run to give Olympique Lyonnais a narrow advantage in their last-16 tie with APOEL FC.

Surprisingly preferred to Bafétimbi Gomis, who scored four times on his last UEFA Champions League appearance, Lacazette justified Rémi Garde's faith by registering the only goal with a deflected shot on 58 minutes. The 20-year-old's fifth strike in as many matches was the least the French club deserved having dominated throughout. APOEL, who tested Hugo Lloris just once, will need to reverse the deficit in Nicosia on 7 March without midfielder Hélio Pinto, suspended following a second-half booking.

Lyon coach Garde had been bitterly disappointed by Saturday's defeat by SM Caen and looked to freshen his side up by making four changes. Two of the newcomers were lively early on, Lacazette and Ederson combining effectively with short passes while Lisandro and Michel Bastos worried the visiting defence with their darting movements.

Ederson was the first to test goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis, collecting Lacazette's pass and shooting low but without power on 15 minutes. The Brazilian then slipped his team-mate through after a penetrating run only for Lacazette to be flagged offside. Appearing in the last 16 for a ninth year running, OL's experience looked to be telling against the knockout stage novices, yet a combination of determined defending, wayward finishing and fine goalkeeping ensured the contest remained goalless for nearly an hour.

Ivan Jovanović's charges were stretched to the limit on 25 minutes when Anthony Réveillère's close-range effort was charged down and Bastos powered the follow-up narrowly over via the head of a lunging Paulo Jorge. Lacazette was continuing to provide a spark, the French Under-21 international rifling over from the edge of the box having created the opening himself with a fine jinking run, then drawing a reflex save from Chiotis.

The Ligue 1 outfit were getting closer, creating easily their clearest opportunity two minutes after the restart. Bastos' astute pass with the outside of his left foot sent Ederson clear but after rounding Chiotis, the midfielder's angled attempt was intercepted by the sliding Paulo Jorge.

If luck had deserted the hosts until then, it returned in abundance just before the hour. Jimmy Briand was waiting on the touchline ready to come on when the man he was due to replace, Lacazette, cut in from the left and saw his deflected effort loop up off Paulo Jorge and over Chiotis. Garde did not change his mind, Lacazette walking off to a standing ovation moments later.

Lyon remained in the ascendancy, Bastos squandering a chance to double the lead by shooting into the side netting after Lisandro had played him clear. The noisy visiting fans had their hearts in their mouths when Nuno Morais almost scored an own goal, nodding Briand's cross fractionally wide. APOEL had ridden their luck, but they almost had the final say, substitute Gustavo Manduca reminding Lyon that the tie remains very much alive by forcing Lloris to make a fingertip save on 88 minutes.

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