Lyon vs Juventus Champions League preview 

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 2:28pm

By Ali McDowall

Rudi Garcia’s Lyon play host to Italian champions Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash later tonight. 

French side Lyon are enduring a substandard season in Ligue 1 thus far, sitting in seventh, 28 points behind league leaders PSG. 

History is not on Les Gones’ side either as it has been a decade since they progressed further than the last-16. They have also been eliminated by Italian opposition everytime they have faced them in the knockout stages and they are also winless against Juventus in Europe. 

They will also have to deal with the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo, but manager Garcia is adamant his side will not change their game plan to deal with Juventus’ Portuguese talisman.

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Speaking at the pre-match press conference Garcia said: “We can't have a plan just against Ronaldo, because we should also have a plan against Dybala, a plan against Higuain. 

“There are too many good players in this team to face the problems individually, we have to face them as a whole."

Lyon come into this fixture as underdogs for sure but Garcia’s side are capable of beating the best Europe has to offer on their day and shouldn’t be written off just yet. 

Since their defeat at the hand of PSG earlier in February they’ve conceded only once in three matches and since qualifying for the knockout stages they have lost just three out of 16. 

Their recent form certainly offers them some confidence ahead of welcoming one of the favourites to claim the illustrious trophy. 

On the other hand, Juventus have returned to the summit of the Serie A table and come into this contest in high spirits. 

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The Italian champions have serious Champions League aspirations and have now qualified for the knockout stage for the sixth consecutive season, their longest ever run, and have lost only one of their last seven Champions League away games in the knockout phase. 

And of course they are bolstered by the phenomenal Ronaldo who not only bagged his record-equalling 11th consecutive Serie A goal at the weekend, but also is the only player to have scored more goals in the knockout stage than in the group stages of the Champions League with 65 in the knockouts and 63 in the groups.

With the Italian giants unbeaten in their last eight against French opposition, the chances are they will make that nine after tonight’s clash with Lyon. 

 

Team news 

 

Lyon

Lyon will be without one of their star players in Memphis Depay, who misses out through a long-term knee injury. 

Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Youssef Kone are side-lined with knee and ankle injuries respectively, while Rafael and Oumar Solet are doubts for the game.

Bertrand Traore will hope to get the nod over Maxwell Cornet after finally netting his first league goal of the campaign at the weekend.

Juventus

After making his comeback from a long-term knee injury, Giorgio Chiellini will hope to retain his place in the starting lineup for this game.

With Miralem Pjanic struggling due to injury, Rodrigo Bentancur could be deployed as the most defensive-minded player in the midfield three.

Given his injury record, Maurizio Sarri must decide whether to keep Aaron Ramsey in the team, with Adrien Rabiot an alternative to the Welshman.

 

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