Manchester City entered the day thinking that if they played well, they would come out with three points. They did play well, but Lyon played even better and were virtually mistake-less. While two costly errors cost Manchester City three vital points at home, Lyon have turned this group upside down and reminded us all why European Football is the best.
Lyon Capitalize on Giant Manchester City Errors
The first half of the game went like many Manchester City or Barcelona or Bayern Munich games have gone in the past. They had the lion’s share of possession, moved the ball well and found themselves in the final third with the ball, but without the space to use it. Lyon were playing as many opponents of those sides have in the past, sitting deep, and hoping to be clinical on the counter.
But it wasn’t any of those things that had the French side up 2-0 at the break. City made two horrific errors. First, when a ball from Nabil Fekir came in the from the left side, it looked like it would be cleared with no problems. Don’t tell that to Fabian Delph, because he swung and missed, allowing Maxwell Cornet to receive the ball just outside the six-yard box and lash home.
But they weren’t done, because in the 43rd minute, Fekir dispossessed Fernandinho and he was off and running at the City defence. A step over and a body shift gave him the space to get a shot away that went through John Stones’ legs into the bottom corner. Lyon were 2-0 up and cruising, their defence and midfield stifling City’s chances to score.
When the second half began, we all knew Manchester City were going to come out like gangbusters. They didn’t exactly come out after halftime at their best, but they were building. The first sub was Leroy Sane on 55 minutes, coming on for Ilkay Gundogan, and they got better after that. They were still vulnerable, though. Memphis Depay got through on a counter, getting a curling shot off that forced a world-class fingertip save from Ederson, who barely pushed it onto the post.
Then City brought Aguero on in the 63rd minute and again they ratcheted up the pressure. Finally, that pressure amounted to something when Leroy Sane got past two Lyon defenders en route to the byline. He then cut the ball back to Bernardo Silva who finished into the bottom corner, and City had finally gotten one back.
And from that point, you knew the siege was on. City dominated possession and kept Lyon on their heels. But Lyon continued to hold strong and they continued to deal with all the pressure Manchester City were putting them under. And when we reached the 90th minute, they were still in the lead. Finally, when the final whistle blew, they had completed the job.
What to Take Away
This game should go down for the performance of the Lyon players. Fekir, Cornet, Tanguy Ndombele and Pape Cheikh were collectively outstanding. This team is young and incredibly talented.
But the headlines will go to Manchester City after a fourth consecutive defeat in Europe. They need to regroup and refocus. They played well in this game and only lost because of two terrible errors. If Delph clears that ball instead of missing it this game ends in a draw, but those are the bounces of football.
Manchester City have obviously played better, whereas Lyon haven’t played that well for a while. Nothing should be taken away from them, they are that good and serious contender for this group. Now that they got their toughest game out of the way, look for big things from the men from the south of France.