UCL Retro : Winning the first leg against Juventus
OL have already achieved one of the goals of their 2019-20 season: reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League for a second consecutive season. The previous match, a spectacular 2-2 draw at home against Leipzig but enough to reach the rest of the competition, must have given ideas to Rudi Garcia's players on the eve of facing the eight-time defending Italian champion. Faced with Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado, the Rhone club could not help but dream. The 22 players took to the pitch and the whistle is blown at 9 p.m. Let's go.
If Juve were dangerous in the first minutes, with a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo narrowly missing the goal (4 ’), OL were coming into the game very well. Under the impetus of Bruno Guimaraes already excellently integrated into his new team, Les Gones played simply, fairly and were technically flawless. Despite these very good omens in the game, it was on a corner that they would get their first clear opportunity. Houssem Aouar perfectly played a ball for Karl Toko Ekambi, who hit a strong header at the near post. Beaten, Szczęsny could thank his crossbar (21 ’).
It was a huge chance that freed Lyon up even more, as it was the hosts who will end up opening the scoring. On the left side, Houssem Aouar made use of his pace to beat Danilo before passing the ball to Lucas Tousart who appeared at the edge of the area to beat Szczęsny to his right (31 ’). Stunned and listless, the Old Lady had never lived up to her name so well. The players seemed lost, just like the misunderstanding between Pjanic and De Ligt which gave Karl Toko Ekambi another huge chance (41 ’). The two teams returned to the locker room on the score of 1-0 and whatever happens now, one thing is certain: Lyon are more than at the level of the event.
Obviously, you should never bury this kind of club too early and Juve came back from the locker room with a whole different attitude. Without being totally convincing, Maurizio Sarri's players put their foot on the ball and tried to dictate the tempo while OL were content to manage their advantage. It might not have been such a good idea because after 25 minutes in the second half, Juve would finally give the host a fright. On a cross from Alex Sandro, Dybala was very close to putting the two teams back on an equal footing but was ultimately too imprecise (69 ’). The Argentinian will stand out again by picking out Higuain in the box but his compatriot would not have much more success (85 ’).
Maintaining their goal advantage, Jean-Michel Aulas’ team would finally hold on and close out the first success in their history against the Italians. With this win, which defied all predictions, OL have a very good chance at qualifying for the quarterfinals. If the match were to be played much earlier, on March 17 more precisely, this return leg will finally be played on August 7. Will Les Gones manage to repeat such a performance?