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Lyon stun Man City 3-1 to reach semis

By The Assam Tribune

LISBON, Aug 16: Gabriel Jesus was crouching on the field and crying. Not even the Manchester City jersey covering his face could mask the agony.

Raheem Sterling was lying across the turf, his hands crossed over his eyes.

Then, the Lyon players broke away from their celebrations to console opponents distraught at being knocked out of the Champions League without reaching the semifinals for a fourth straight season.

City, the most expensively assembled squad in football history, had lost 3-1 to the team that finished seventh in the French league.

�It�s incredible because we�re the surprise team,� Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes said. �I don�t think many people expected us to reach this stage of the competition.�

While Lyon prepare to face Bayern Munich in its first Champions League semifinal in a decade, City must face up to another collapse in its quest to become European champions for the first time.

�We need to learn it�s not good enough and that�s it,� said Kevin De Bruyne, who scored City�s only goal to equalise before Moussa Dembele scored twice on Saturday.

Different year, same stuff. It leaves Pep Guardiola still waiting for a first Champions League title since 2011 while coaching Barcelona, falling short in three attempts with Bayern Munich before repeated failures with City. After surrendering the Premier League trophy to Liverpool, City end the season with only the League Cup.

Guardiola�s decision to deploy an unfamiliar five-man defence to match Lyon�s system backfired when gaping holes were left at the back before Maxwel Cornet struck the opener in the 24th minute.

�We won the tactical battle as we master our system of play,� Lyon coach Rudi Garcia said.

De Bruyne equalised in the 69th but substitute Dembele restored the lead 10 minutes later by putting a shot under goalkeeper Ederson after being on the pitch for only four minutes.

Then came the chance to level again that will haunt Sterling. Facing an unguarded net at the far post, Sterling missed the target completely and Lyon extended its lead 59 seconds later with Dembele scoring again.

This was an error-strewn performance by City on a night when Guardiola was out-thought by Garcia, whose last major titles were the French league and cup double with Lille in 2011.

Rudi Garcia has left his mark, has instilled discipline, sporting director Juninho said. �We grew up. Now we need a little humility, a little calm.�

For the first time since 1996 the Champions League semifinals will not feature a side from England and Spain. Instead France will take on Germany in this unique pandemic-enforced conclusion to the Champions League in Lisbon, with single games without fans rather than two-legged semifinals. After Paris Saint-Germain plays Leipzig on Tuesday, Lyon faces Bayern the following night just like it did in the 2010 semifinals. Buoyed by knocking out Juventus and City, Lyon will believe it can make the final this time, even against a Bayern side that thrashed Barcelona 8-2.

City�s biggest Champions League win of the season seemed to come off the pitch when its lawyers overturned a two-season ban from European competitions. But for a side that eliminated record 13-time champion Real Madrid in the previous round, losing to Lyon was not in the script. � AP

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