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APOEL have everything to play for, says Boaventura

William Boaventura said APOEL FC always "struggle away then win at home" and is confident his side can go through against Olympique Lyonnais despite a 1-0 first-leg loss in France.

APOEL have everything to play for, says Boaventura
APOEL have everything to play for, says Boaventura ©UEFA.com

William Boaventura believes APOEL FC have kept their chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals alive after a slender defeat at Olympique Lyonnais. "It will be a different story in Nicosia," the left-back suggested.

Making their debut in the knockout stage, the Cypriot champions succeeded in soaking up considerable pressure before finally conceding through Alexandre Lacazette's deflected goal shortly before the hour. Although Ivan Jovanović's men rarely threatened, Boaventura insists they can take heart from their round of 16 first-leg performance and turn the tie around on home soil.

"I wouldn't say I'm satisfied with the result but 1-0 isn't such a big margin," the Brazilian told UEFA.com. "Lyon only really had two clear chances and they scored from one of them. It's a shame we didn't get a draw but we're still in this."

APOEL beat FC Porto and FC Zenit St Petersburg in front of their fans in the group stage, and Boaventura – who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday – is confident of claiming another notable scalp on 7 March. "Lyon are a very good team," he said. "They get to this stage every year and of course people expect them to beat us.

"It would be a disaster for them to lose," he continued, "but we're not going to give them the victory without a fight. We always tend to struggle away then we win at home. We will need to play better, try to play our own game, but I really believe we can turn this tie around at home."

Boaventura's positive words were echoed by his team-mates, clearly relieved to have survived a severe examination relatively unscathed. Ivan Tričkovski was impressed by the hosts' relentless pace, yet remains cautiously optimistic. "We tried to keep Lyon as far away from our area as possible but they're a good side and play at a good tempo," the 24-year-old playmaker said. "We may have lost but we have the return game to look forward to. Nothing is over yet."

Aílton, meanwhile, thanked the hordes that travelled from Cyprus to offer extremely vocal support. "The fans were incredible," the Brazilian forward enthused. "We all saw how many of them came here to back us." The 27-year-old added: "Despite the defeat, we are still hopeful we can keep the dream alive. The deficit is not impossible to overturn."

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