Lyon leaves in search of an exploit against Juventus, stars in the eyes vis-a-vis Cristiano Ronaldo but the feet mired in its difficulties of the moment, Wednesday (21:00) at the time of an 8th final one leg of Champions league, played in spite of questions related to the coronavirus.
If the draw offered a prestigious opponent to OL, the atmosphere is less festive than worry before the match.
The epidemic of the new coronavirus which rages in the North of Italy casts a shadow over the stadium of OL, where nearly 3.000 supporters, come from all the Boot, are expected in the sold-out enclosure.
The meeting is for the moment maintained “in its initial configuration”, according to a press release from the Lyon club published Tuesday afternoon, even if Juventus will play Sunday behind closed doors, against Inter, to avoid any risk of spread.
Lyon would have preferred to spend less hectic hours behind the scenes, and sell this dream poster to supporters who, a year after the arrival of Lionel Messi, will see Cristiano Ronaldo evolve before their eyes.
OL again crosses paths with a football monument, most often synonymous with terminus. Last season, Barca was hooked during their Lyon stage (0-0), before making the difference at home (5-1) with a double of their Argentine “Pulga”.
– Ronaldo finds Lyon –
The ambitious Juve, with his XXL squad, his world champion Blaise Matuidi, his attackers Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, presents the ideal gravedigger profile of the last European hopefuls from Lyon, especially since the “Gones” have only crossed ‘only once the barrier of the 8th on their last seven attempts.
The only exception was in 2010 against Real Madrid … of Cristiano Ronaldo. But since then, the Portuguese has taken a new dimension in the competition, which he has won in total five times.
Between Lyon and the striker, it’s a long story. OL are the team that the Portuguese faced the most in C1 – on par with Atletico -, with a record clearly to their advantage: five wins, four draws, and one defeat.
Between Saone and Rhone, the “Old Lady” will only have to follow her guide who plays her role to the full this season in a club that has twice won the Champions League, the last in 1996. In great shape, Ronaldo had his 11th consecutive Championship game on Saturday with at least one goal scored.
“He is obviously one of the best on the planet. But there will be no anti-Ronaldo plan because if that were the case, there would have to be an anti-Dybala or anti-Higuain plan. There are too many players very strong in this team, “said Lyon coach Rudi Garcia.
– Heads or tails –
But more than the level of Juventus, at the head of Serie A, it is that of OL that worries them most. The success in Metz on Friday (2-0) did not calm the atmosphere around the team, which drags its sports spleen to 7th place in Ligue 1.
To the banners of the turns which complained about the lack of spectacle and the poor results in the Championship, Jean-Michel Aulas opposes the argument of the four competitions in which the “Gones” are still in contention, a first for eight years.
It is as if Lyon is playing its season heads or tails for the next few weeks, to find out which supporters or leaders will set the tone for the balance sheet in May.
Against Juventus, without the pressure that prohibits any misstep in Ligue 1, Lyon could better express itself in the costume of an outsider.
The scene is beautiful for the young Houssem Aouar or Moussa Dembele, who aspire to the best clubs on the continent. The return to defense of Leo Dubois is another good news for Rudi Garcia, who is waiting for the opportunity to shine against an audience that has criticized him since his arrival.