Top Winners and Losers After Saturday’s Champions League Quarter-Finals Results
Lyon’s incredible run in the UEFA Champions League continued in stunning fashion Saturday.
The French side benefited from a pair of second-half goals out of Moussa Dembele to down Manchester City 3-1.
To reach the semifinal round, Lyon knocked off two title contenders: Juventus in the round of 16 and Manchester City in the one-leg quarterfinal.
Manchester City was let down by some defensive lapses, but it still created plenty of chances to play its way back into the game.
Lyon will now try to do the unthinkable and defeat a third European giant in a row in the semifinal against Bayern Munich on Wednesday in Lisbon, Portugal.
Winners and Losers from Saturday’s Quarterfinal
Winner: Moussa Dembele
The boost provided by Dembele’s introduction was similar to what Paris Saint-Germain received when Kylian Mbappe entered in its quarterfinal win Wednesday.
The 24-year-old French forward added an instant spark to the Lyon offense and put away the two chances he was given.
In the 79th minute, he ran toward the Man City goal untouched after he received the ball through a splendid dummy by Karl Toko Ekambi that kept the play onside.
Eight minutes later, Dembele sealed Lyon’s place in the final four by placing a shot into the right side of the net off a rebound created by Ederson.
The pair of goals moved Dembele’s career Champions League tally against Manchester City to four, which is more than he has against the other 11 squads he has faced in the competition, per Opta:
Dembele only made seven touches in his 16-minute cameo, but he made an impact with the time he spent on the ball.
Winner: Karl Toko Ekambi
Ekambi made the most important play of the game without touching the ball.
The 27-year-old forward was in an offside position when Houssem Aouar played a ball from midfield through the Man City defense.
If Ekambi touched the ball, the attacking move would have either been whistled dead on the spot or called back during a review because he would have made contact in an offside position.
Instead, he made the smart move to dummy over the ball and let it roll to Dembele, who surged forward to beat Ederson.
Without the smart thinking on the fly from Ekambi, Lyon may have been stuck tied at a goal apiece and would have had to fight longer to move on.
Loser: Raheem Sterling
Sterling had the opportunity to erase Lyon’s go-ahead goal in the 86th minute, but he failed to convert.
The Englishman was left wide open in the center of the penalty area, but he skied a shot well over the net instead of providing the equalizer.
The glaring miss late in the second half will be what most people remember about Sterling from the contest despite him having one of the better performances in the City squad.
Sterling dropped in the game-tying assist to Kevin De Bruyne in the 69th minute and combined well with the Belgian for a bulk of the contest.
Sterling finished with three shots and a trio of key passes, but he could not get an attempt on target while City was chasing a result.
Loser: Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has been unable to get Man City over the quarterfinal hump in the Champions League.
As Opta noted, the manager failed to put the English club into the final four after having a wealth of success with FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Guardiola’s tactical plan was questionable at best, as he started Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia and Fernandinho in a back three.
Laporte and Garcia were caught out on a few occasions, and Fernandinho had to be taken off in the 56th minute with a yellow card to his name.
Guardiola adjusted well for parts of the contest, but the defensive setup ultimately failed him when the high line was exposed by Dembele on the game-winning goal.
The loss ended an unsuccessful season by Man City’s standards in which it was dumped out of the UCL in the quarterfinals, lost the Premier League title to Liverpool, did not make the FA Cup final and only won the EFL League Cup