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MANCHESTER CITY-PSG: POSSESSION, WEAK TIME MANAGEMENT.. HOW OL HAD WON IN 2018

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In 2018, OL had managed the feat of winning on the ground of Manchester City (1-2) in the Champions League. It was not the same context but the players of that time have some advice for PSG before the semi-final second leg, this Tuesday night (21h, on RMC Sport 1).
By winning with the same scoreline, PSG would snatch an extra time on Tuesday. Winning on the ground of Manchester City, Lyon has already done it on September 19, 2018 (1-2) in the group stage). A little less than three years later, Paris finds itself in the obligation to score at least two goals at the Etihad Stadium after its defeat at home in the first leg (1-2). In a different context since a final is at stake while in 2018, OL played its first group match in the north of England.

Lyon had taken full advantage of each opponent’s mistake: Maxwell Cornet (26th) had opened the score after a miss by Fabian Delph. Nabil Fekir (43rd) had made the breakthrough on a ball recovered very high after a one-touch relay with Memphis Depay before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot. « I recuperate the ball », the French international said in his post-match interview in English, which has gone down in history.

City are a team that love the ball, » recalled defender Jeremy Morel, a substitute that night and now at Lorient. We had to be ready to suffer, to make high intensity runs. We had to increase our strength tenfold to perform there and be very strong in midfield. We had a very big game offensively but also defensively where we were very good in transitions. »

A very technical midfield and play
On the OL bench that day, Bruno Genesio has one of the best memories of his career. He remembers the plan concocted. We had built a team to play with a very technical midfield with Diop, Ndombélé and Fekir, » says the current Rennes coach. We decided not to undergo too much, even if you are sometimes forced to undergo against this team. We wanted to play as much as possible, to get the ball out, to have time of possession because we knew that’s what they like less. We had to be ready for the physical challenge they impose on you with their great possession where they make you run a lot and tire you physically and mentally. »

For the coach, one of the keys to the game will be the management of the weak. It is, according to him, on this point that his team had left the Etihad as a winner but also where Paris sinned in the first round. « In the first half, City had difficulty in the first half but managed this difficulty better than Paris did in the second half, » he said. That’s what made the difference. One team was able to cope with the difficulty in the first half, Manchester City. Paris was very strong in the first half, but in the difficulty, it liquefied a bit. »

« Parisians have the assets to do it, » Morel judges
With at least two goals required, the Parisians will have to rediscover the combination that worked so well during their first 45 minutes at the Parc: holding the ball, playing high and not being subjected to the opposition’s play. Without throwing themselves into the quest for recovery. « They are players who don’t burn the ball even when we press them, » Morel said.

They (the Parisians, ed. note) have the assets to do so, » said the former Marseille defender. We must not only defend. By dint of rotating, they also end up finding the cracks and the intervals. Paris also has the weapons to annoy City. They showed in the 8th round and in the quarter-finals that they can play very big games. We’ll have to put in a great performance.

Lyon did so and even came close to a 3-0 lead, but Depay hit the post in the second half. Lyon’s defense had finally conceded to a Bernardo Silva shot before Sergio Aguero sent a final chill down the spine with a shot over the bar. « It was a very high-flying performance but to beat City, you need at least that, » concluded Morel. Neymar and co. have already warned that they are up.

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