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Man City 1 - 2 Lyon
by James Nalton
MANCHESTER CITY lost their fourth game in a row in the Champions League, falling at home to a well-drilled Lyon side which featured two former Manchester United players.
Memphis Depay and Rafael once plied their trade across town at Old Trafford and were booed half-heartedly by the home support as they lined up for the Ligue 1 side.
This mild, hardly hostile reception summed up the evening from the atmosphere in the stadium to the performance on the pitch.
Pep Guardiola will have witnessed the indifference in the crowd first hand as he served a touchline ban for being sent to the stands during their loss to Liverpool in last season’s competition.
The sanction will further alienate City’s fans from a competition which has treated them and their club harshly over the years and the loudest noises heard on European nights will continue to be the boos which ring out when the Champions League anthem is played.
“I wouldn’t like to use that as an excuse,” said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta when asked about the lack of numbers and atmosphere in the stadium.
“We’ve had this type of crowd in the Champions League before and we were able to win games.
“The ideal scenario is to have a full stadium every time and them being behind the team like crazy, but we know sometimes in this competition that doesn’t happen, but it’s not an excuse for the result.”
None of this should take away from an outstanding performance from visitors Lyon, who arrived with a bold plan and executed it perfectly.
Depay and Nabil Fekir were a constant threat up front, while Tanguy Ndombele and Pape Cheikh were busy in midfield.
Maxwel Cornet impressed out wide both defensively and on the counter-attack. It was he who opened the scoring after Fernandinho lost the ball and Fabian Delph failed to clear Fekir’s cross.
Fekir made it two with a great strike from outside the box after Depay robbed Fernandinho.
City made changes in the second half, but they were only able to pull one goal back through Bernardo Silva.
“When we put in effort, like we did this evening, we have a talented group of players that can win games wherever we play,” said Lyon manager, Bruno Genesio.
“We were well disciplined tactically and defensively, but by the same token we wanted to play our game as well.”
Lyon host Marseille on Sunday evening in one of Ligue 1’s biggest games, while City travel to Cardiff on Saturday.
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