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How Beşiktaş and Lyon can gain the upper hand

With the UEFA Europa League quarter-final between Beşiktaş and Lyon intriguingly poised at 2-1 to OL, UEFA.com's David Crossan explains how the tie will be won and lost.

Beşiktaş's Marcelo vies with Nabil Fekir of Lyon during the first leg
Beşiktaş's Marcelo vies with Nabil Fekir of Lyon during the first leg ©AFP/Getty Images

Both teams – win the set-piece battle
The opening two goals of the first leg came from set pieces and both sides will feel they could, and arguably should, have scored at least one more from such situations. While Ryan Babel and Corentin Tolisso netted for Beşiktaş and Lyon respectively, Marcelo was twice denied by heroic defending in the first ten minutes and Tolisso headed against the woodwork before equalising.

Highlights: late drama as Lyon establish first-leg lead
Highlights: late drama as Lyon establish first-leg lead

In Talisca and Mathieu Valbuena, the teams possess expert dead-ball deliverers to pick out runners. Both defences looked uneasy at the Stade de Lyon, the hosts in the first half and Beşiktaş once Lyon started laying siege to their goal in the second period.

Lyon are reliant on Mouctar Diakhaby in both boxes, while Şenol Güneş will remind his Beşiktaş players that they cannot afford to let their defensive focus slip for a second.

Beşiktaş – harness the passion
"We're disappointed, but we must stay positive because we know we can turn the situation around in the return leg and qualify," asserted Güneş in his post-match press conference.

Can Lyon end France's UEFA Cup/Europa League hoodoo?
Can Lyon end France's UEFA Cup/Europa League hoodoo?

Backed by an expectant crowd, the Turkish club will have to come out and play more, all the while retaining their balance so as not to allow a Lyon attack – labelled "dangerous" by Güneş – positions to exploit.

Vincent Aboubakar's ongoing suspension diminishes Beşiktaş's chances as the Cameroon forward's power, pace and scoring prowess would have come in handy.

Lyon – play from the off
Just as in the home leg against Roma in the round of 16, Lyon were dependent on a much-improved second-half display to emerge victorious. Valbuena conceded: "In the second half, and this has been the case often this season, our pride meant there was a reaction from us. We were gutsy and we deserved the result in the end."

Scoring goals has not been a problem for Lyon in the knockout phase. Bruno Génésio's charges have knocked in 18 goals in five matches since coming into the competition at the round of 32 stage. They are capable of scoring in Istanbul, provided they shift the ball as quickly as they did in the second period last Thursday and provide options for the man in possession.