APOEL FC may be the underdogs but Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is taking nothing for granted against a "dangerous counterattacking team".
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Olympique Lyonnais may be facing a side who have never before reached the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is not taking anything for granted going into the round of 16, having already identified APOEL FC as "a well-organised team who are particularly dangerous on the counterattack".
With over 200 Ligue 1 appearances, 30 French caps and four UEFA Champions League campaigns under his belt, Lloris has experience of high-pressure matches, but his side's inconsistent recent form and the impact APOEL have made in the competition so far has led the 25-year-old to adopt a circumspect regard for the Cypriot visitors.
"We have watched a lot of videos of the team," said Lloris. "A lot of people have said that they are not prestigious opponents. That may even be the case but they finished first in their group ahead of FC Porto and I can assure you that they are a well-organised team who are a particularly dangerous on the counterattack. If we make the same mistakes we have made in recent matches we could have problems."
While Lyon are competing in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the ninth successive season, APOEL have enjoyed an impressive second campaign in the competition and, though inexperienced by comparison with their hosts, will draw confidence from having finished as Group G winners. Lyon's 2-1 defeat at home by SM Caen on Saturday will also have further boosted the visitors' morale.
"We've conceded too many goals and that's a fact," added Lloris. "There is no way we can afford to do that in the Champions League, because we know how important the first leg is, especially at home." In contrast to APOEL, Lyon just scraped into a runners-up berth behind Real Madrid CF in Group D after an astonishing escape act in their last fixture when they won 7-1 at GNK Dinamo Zagreb to leapfrog AFC Ajax on goal difference. But it was a turnaround Lloris believes has given his side a psychological edge. "We're extremely motivated and appreciate just what a privilege it is to play in this competition."