Moussa Dembele fires Lyon into Champions League semis
Manchester City left to rue Raheem Sterling’s open-goal miss
Former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele came off the bench to score a dramatic late double as Lyon stunned Manchester City to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in a decade.
Dembele – who swapped Parkhead for the French side two years ago in a deal worth almost £20 million – struck either side of Raheem Sterling’s late glaring miss as Lyon sealed a surprise 3-1 win in Lisbon.
City had hauled themselves back into the game with Kevin De Bruyne’s 69th-minute equaliser after Maxwel Cornet’s opener but Dembele then came on with 15 minutes remaining to turn the tie dramatically.
Dembele first broke from halfway to slot home and then, moments after Sterling’s incredible miss, he made victory certain after a shocking spill by Ederson.
Sterling, who had been one of City’s better players, will certainly not want to relive the moment he could have levelled the game after 86 minutes. The England forward had the goal at his mercy but remarkably blazed over in the heat of the moment. City were then fully punished by Dembele and the wait for them, and their manager Pep Guardiola, goes on.
Lyon, who finished seventh in the curtailed Ligue 1 season, looked to hit City on the counter and stretch their back three in the early stages and the plan paid off in the 24th minute when Karl Toko Ekambi raced on to a Marcal pass. Eric Garcia recovered to halt the charge but cleared only as a far as Cornet, who after scoring against City three times last season, stung them again by curling round a stranded Ederson.
City at least responded positively and kept Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes busy for the remainder of the first half. Lopes had to push away a drilled cross from Cancelo and smother Gabriel Jesus’ attempt on the rebound. He also saved an albeit weak first-time shot from Rodri and denied Sterling from close range.
City began to look laboured in the early stages of the second half but then De Bruyne took it upon himself to try to retrieve the situation.
The Belgian first tested Lopes with a 25-yard free-kick just before the hour and then curled another set-piece over before having a driving run halted on the edge of the area.
Ederson kept City’s hopes alive by keeping out a Fernando Marcal shot and they finally broke the French side’s rearguard after 69 minutes. Sterling did well to turn a defender on the left and his cutback for De Bruyne was perfect, allowing City’s playmaker to sidefoot past Lopes.
That appeared to energise City and Jesus forced a brilliant save from Lopes with a shot on the turn that looked destined for the top corner.
Yet just as City began to sense their chance, they were caught out again.
This time Dembele got behind the defence and finished well in the 79th minute. City waited in hope VAR might overturn the goal for a foul on halfway but the goal was given.
Sterling looked like he would take the game to extra time but contrived to miss from Jesus’ pass and Dembele then had the final say.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.