Lyon 0-0 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Missed Chances See La Blaugrana Draw Blank

Barcelona failed to capitalise on the numerous opportunities they created as a mixture of poor finishing and a resolute Lyon defence meant they head to the return leg at Camp Nou with all still to play for, after a goalless draw in France on Tuesday night.

The visitors to the Lyon Olympic Stadium started brightly, with Ousmane Dembele making his presence known immediately by fizzing an effort wide within the first 30 seconds. 

Houssem Aouar had a shot palmed wide by Marc-Andre ter Stegen before the German stopper produced a stunning save to tip Martin Terrier’s fierce long-range effort onto the crossbar in a pulsating opening to the match.

Torwart Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic were both guilty of wasting good opportunities for Ernesto Valverde’s men while Moussa Dembele was denied by a great sliding challenge from Gerard Pique as the half hour mark approached. 

The second half started without the same pace that ended the first, with Memphis Depay flashing a bending drive wide seven minutes after the restart. The hosts were more content to sit deep and strike on the break as the match wore on, with Luis Suarez twice coming within inches of netting his first Champions League goal of the season. 


It was one way traffic for the remainder of the second half, as Ernesto Valverde left baffled by their inability to apply the finishing touch on a night were they should have snatched the win.

Check out 90min’s breakdown of the game below.


LYON

Key Talking Point

Almost ten years on from being knocked out in the Champions League quarter finals by the same opposition, and having lost all of their previous encounters with Valverde’s side, Lyon took on their Catalan opponents with renewed optimism after a strong campaign thus far in Ligue 1. 

With Barcelona’s high press evident from the off, Lyon grew into the game and were left to rue two excellent stops by ter Stegen to deny them an early lead. 

Marcelo,Houssem Aouar,Lionel Messi

Bruno Génésio has seen his team perform brilliantly in the Champions League so far this season, going unbeaten in the competition ahead of Tuesday’s match. Despite being unable to see the best of Depay in the first 45 minutes, Lyon created some great openings, with some poor crossing and wayward finishing leaving them wondering if it might have been different had Nabil Fekir not been suspended.

The second half saw the home side sit deeper, more willing to utilise the pace of Depay on the break as Barcelona repeatedly kept knocking on the door, edging nearer a breakthrough. They will be pleased with their overall performance, with every player to a man putting everything they had into the ninety minutes. It’s an uphill task, but they’ll head into the return leg still very much in the tie.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lopes (7); Dubois (8), Marcelo (8), Denayer (8), Mendy (8), Ndombele (8), Aouar (7), Traore (7), Depay (6), Terrier (7), Dembele (6)

Substitutes: Tousart (7), Diop Gueye (N/A), Cornet (7)


Star Man – Tanguy Ndombele

It feels somewhat unfair that – even after winning the World Cup – France still continue to produce outstanding talent, with Ndombele another magnificent prospect for an already magnificent national side. The 22-year-old showed remarkable composure on the ball in a match populated with some of football’s best. 

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The youngster even had the audacity to flick the ball over opposing players’ heads as he glided across the pitch, showcasing his ability to distribute the ball effectively both from five yards and fifty yards. The Lyon man stands at under six foot, but his physical presence and tireless energy were a huge asset to Les Gones throughout the ninety minutes. 

Despite only having four senior caps for France so far, it seems unreasonable to suggest that Ndombele won’t be a key figure in Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2020 side. 



BARCELONA?

Key Talking Point

Valverde’s game plan to press Lyon high proved fruitful in the opening exchanges, as his midfielders all pressed well in the centre of the park, presenting Dembele with space down the left on numerous occasions. 

A combination of questionable finishing and poor decision making was the only thing preventing La Blaugrana from taking an early lead.

Ernesto Valverde

They had their goalkeeper to thank in the first half but throughout the second period were utterly dominant. Valverde’s words appeared to work as La Blaugrana carved out numerous openings to take a strong lead ahead of the return leg at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi ran the show, being equally effective dropping deep to start attacks as he was spearheading them up top.

Nothing can be said against the visitors performance, simply that everyone must have left their shooting boots on the plane. Plenty of times they found themselves with the goal at the mercy just lady luck was not on their side. They will fancy their chances in a few weeks time, however.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (8); Semedo (8), Pique (7), Lenglet (7), Alba (7), Roberto (7), Busquets(7), Rakitic (7), Messi (8), Suarez (7), Dembele (7)

Substitutes: Coutinho (6), Vidal (6)


Star Man – Lionel Messi

It often feels like somewhat of a cop out to choose Messi as the star man, but he once again demonstrated the quality that keeps him up amongst the world’s greatest ever players. His otherworldly ability to find space, sometimes even without moving, is bewildering, while his close control makes it next to impossible to dispossess him.

Lionel Messi

On this occasion the only thing that was missing was the finishing touch. Barcelona had enough opportunities on the night to win three matches, but their failure to test Anthony Lopes on enough occasions was as much Messi’s fault as his fellow forwards.


Looking Ahead

In just four days time Barcelona travel to Sevilla in La Liga as they take on the fourth place side in their return to league action. Then, in what will be their third away trip on the spin, they face bitter rivals ?Real Madrid in their Copa del Rey semi final second leg

Meanwhile, Lyon also find themselves on the road, as they head to the south of France to take on struggling Monaco in Ligue 1, before a Coupe de France quarter final clash at home to Caen.

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Ernesto Valverde Not Fazed by Barcelona’s Lack of Goals Ahead of Champions League Tie With Lyon

?Ernesto Valverde has insisted that he is not concerned by Barcelona’s recent lack of goals ahead of the Blaugrana’s Champions League tie against Lyon on Tuesday evening.

Barcelona drew three games in a row prior to their 1-0 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday, scoring only four goals across the four games – three of which came from Lionel Messi. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez has failed to find the back of the net once in February, raising concerns about his recent poor form.

Luis Suarez

Despite this, Valverde waved away any lingering doubts concerning Barcelona’s lack of potency in in the final third and claimed that his side are more than capable of nabbing an away goal to give themselves an advantage in the second leg at Camp Nou.

“It is going to be a big challenge for us,” Valverde said, as per ?Sky Sports. “But we’re hungry and ready for this game.

“It is true that scoring an away goal is important because if you don’t, it leaves everything up in the air for the second leg.


“Everybody has their opinion but the question is surprising. Maybe we have not created that many chance but we always attack. Tomorrow we will see.”

?Barcelona have not won away from home in a Champions League knockout game in the last three years, but Valverde is more than confident that his side can bring that run to an end.

“That proves how tough the competition is,” he added, as quoted by ?Marca. “Records are there to be broken.

“It was also said that we did not score away from home and this year we have done so in big games against Tottenham and Inter.”

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Miralem Pjanic Admits He Could Have Left Juventus Last Summer Amid Interest From Man Utd & Barcelona

Miralem Pjanic has admitted that he could have left Juventus last summer after he was linked with potential moves to Manchester United and Barcelona.

The Bosnian midfielder joined Juventus from Roma back in 2016 and has since gone on to make 120 appearances for Il Bianconeri, playing a starring role as the club have dominated the domestic scene in Italy.

In a recent interview with Il Gironale, Pjanic has admitted that it was possible he could have left ?Juventus last summer after the likes of ?United and ?Barcelona expressed an interest in snapping him up.

?“There was some interest, it’s true, but I had no reason to change club,” he said. “I don’t know if Juventus will be my last big club, because transfers don’t just depend on the player. But also on the club and who might or might not need you in that role.”

Miralem Pjanic

Juventus get their Champions League campaign back underway on Wednesday as they face off against ?Atletico Madrid and Pjanic claimed to be confident that the Old Lady will achieve success in Europe over the next few years.

“I see that the Champions League will come here in the next few years. It’s a dream of mine and I’m in the ideal place to make it happen.

“The truth is that the only thing that matters is winning. After three years nobody remembers if you played badly, at the end there are those who won and in the field there were these players.

FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-TRAINING

“The truth is that it is important to bring the trophies home, only in this way will you be remembered as a true and great player.”

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Luka Jovic Transfer Rumours Rubbished by Frankfurt Director as Top European Clubs Circle

Eintracht Frankfurt director Fredi Bobic ?has rubbished the idea that Luka Jovic is on the verge of leaving the club, hitting out at the idea of a €45m bid being lodged by one of Europe’s bigger clubs. 

Jovic is only at the Commerzbank-Arena on loan from Benfica this season, but the deal contains a clause to make the move permanent in the summer for around €6m – leaving Frankfurt free to turn a massive and immediate profit on the Bundesliga’s leading scorer this summer if they so choose. 

Bild reported last week that ?Chelsea were leading the race to sign the forward, having lodged a €45m bid, whilst ?GOAL have indicated that Barcelona are at the front of the queue, as La Blaugrana search for a long-term placement for the ageing Luis Suarez.

But Bobic – quoted by ?WAZ at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday night – said: “So far, this is just typical leaves rustling with zero content. 

“It does not scare me, but it surprised me, first it was ?Barcelona, then it was ?Real Madrid, now Chelsea, who’s tomorrow, ?Juve, the day after tomorrow, someone else, that was a bit too much.”

For his own part, Jovic said recently: “I’m honoured, of course, for such big clubs to show an interest in me. But right now I’m happy to be here in Frankfurt and I feel good here. At the moment I’m just concentrating on Eintracht Frankfurt, that’s my top priority.”

The Serbia international has added four assists to his 14 league goals this season, with a further five strikes in seven Europa League matches – helping his side through a tough group containing Marseille and Lazio before setting up a goal in a 2-2 draw in last week’s first leg of Frankfurt’s round of 32 tie with Shakhtar. 

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Barcelona President Confirms Their Interest in Signing Ajax Starlet Matthijs de Ligt

?Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that La Blaugrana are interested in signing Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt this summer, amid interest from the likes of Manchester City and Juventus.

The centre-back, who already captains his club at the tender age of 19, is set to be the subject of a bidding war this summer, as Europe’s elite sides prepare to scrap to sign the talented Dutchman. The powerful defender already has 13 caps for the Netherlands’ senior national team, and has won the European Golden Boy award for 2018.

UEFA Nations League A group 1'Germany v The Netherlands'

Discussing the possibility of his club signing the prodigious talent, via Football Espana, Bartomeu said: “We have followed de Ligt for a while. It’s true he’s a player we like, but ?Barça also have other important players in the squad. We will look at more things from March or April. We’re delighted to watch him play and admire him, but there’s nothing more at the moment.”

Barça signed midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for an eye-watering €86m in the January transfer window (before loaning him back to the Dutch side), which could be a key factor in de Ligt’s decision to move to the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants are clearly looking to build for the future, and the dynamic duo have the potential to be Barcelona stars for years to come.

Frenkie De Jong,Matthijs De Ligt

The news of Barcelona’s interest will certainly come as a blow to interested ?Premier League sides. ?Manchester City are certain to invest in the summer transfer window, while ?Arsenal have also been touted as a potential destination for de Ligt, given Ajax’s close links with the club given Marc Overmars and Denis Bergkamp’s ties with both sides.

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In other news, ?ESPN pundit Paul Mariner has claimed that Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino would be the ideal replacement for Luis Suárez at Barcelona. The former England international said that the Brazilian ace’s link-up play would make him an ideal fit for Barça’s style of play, and that he could succeed where Philippe Coutinho has so far struggled to impress.

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