UCL Retro : Before the reunion, a look back at City-OL in 18-19
Looking back at the 2018-2019 Champions League season, OL can smile. Drawn in the third pot, the club of Jean-Michel Aulas could have fallen into a very tough group. It turned out to be no matter: it would be Shakhtar Donetsk, Hoffenheim and Manchester City. Obviously, the reigning English champion is one of the giants of the game, but the other two teams are more modest and this draw could allow OL to dream bigger. The scenario is also ideal as Les Gones begin their adventure at the Etihad Stadium. If the result were positive, they could significantly simplify their task.
The games beginnnings went in this direction. OL presented themselves in a resolutely offensive flat 4-4-2 Maxwel Cornet and Houssem Aouar on the wings and a surprise double pivot made up of Ndombélé and Diop. The match began and Lyon played freely with a high and aggressive press and the type of technical cleanliness that is essential in this competition but not always easy to achieve. Despite having a few timid attempts, OL failed to be very dangerous and the first big chance would be for City. On a corner to the back post, Gundogan found Laporte -- the defender rose higher than everyone and saw his header strike the post (17 ’). It was perhaps an additional source of motivation for Les Gones who would see that luck is on their side.
A few minutes later, Maxwel Cornet was played in deep, dribbled past Ederson and scored in an empty net but was finally flagged narrowly offside (23 ’). It was only a postponement of the inevitable. On a cross from Fekir, Delph was completely turned and allowed the Ivorian striker to open the score (0-1, 26 ’). It was a real surprise as the character of the match differed from the expectations that one might have had. Manchester pushed to come back but Anthony Lopes was alert to a strike from Delph (34 ’). The opportunity had passed for City and OL would strike a the second time. Nabil Fékir turned through the center on a high cross and sent a marvelous 25-yard shot across goal to leave Ederson helpless (0-2, 43 ’). By a clear margin, the visitors dominated their opponents and returned to the locker room with a well-deserved lead.
Instinctively, Les Gones would sit deeper in the second half and concede a few chances (50 ’, 54’, 58 ’). Their attitude seemed to indicate a one-sided second half until the 60th minute of play. With a bright pass, Ndombélé played in Memphis behind but Ederson deflected the Dutchman's shot onto the post. It was a huge chance that could have left the French side with a lot of regrets since a few minutes later, Bernardo Silva reduced the score on a pass from Sané (1-2, 67 ’). With 20 minutes remaining, this was the worst possible timing to concede a goal and City would push really hard (69 ’, 73’, 83 ’, 90’) but the Rhone side would not give in. OL finally won away to Manchester City, in the process creating the first shock of the 2018-19 Champions League and gave themselves a huge advantage in reaching the round of 16.