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Olympique Lyonnais: Terrible Offense Could Mean Trouble in Champions League

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18: Miralem Pjanic (R) of Olympique Lyonnais controls the ball besides Xabi Alonso (L) of Real Madrid and Gueida Fofana of Olympique Lyonnais during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Real Madrid and Olympique Lyonnais at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 18, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Ryan DayCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2012

Olympique Lyonnais is lucky to have gotten this far in the Champions League, and a knockout round match up against upstart Apoel Nicosa may prove to be the French club's undoing on Tuesday night.

Lyon made it out of Group D by the skin of their teeth—edging out Ajax for a spot in the round of 16 only because of goal differential. Even Lyon apologists are hard-pressed to defend their club, as all nine of the team's goals were scored in two matches against Dinamo Zagreb.

Despite that, everyone expects the French club to win, not because the team has what it takes to match up against Europe's best, but because their opponent—Apoel Nicosa—is the first club from the island of Cyprus to make it this far in the Champions League tournament.

Lyon has shown poor form as of late in France's Ligue 1, winning only once in their last five league appearances. And that lone win came against a very poor Dijon FCO, who is currently only two points above relegation.

Heck, Lyon just lost on Saturday to a Caen team that was in a worse place than Dijon FCO—only one point above relegation.

The knock against the French champions is that they have a terrible offense that plays tight and scared.

Apoel Nicosa showed they like to play it very close to the vest in group play, earning three draws. But the Cypriot club also showed a willingness to open up their tactics and take chances on attacks during home matches.

Check this out—Apoel Nicosa scored twice in a home win against Zenit St. Petersburg, a team everyone thought would win. Then, Apoel Nicosa scored twice more a month later against an even more heavily favored FC Porto.

Apoel Nicosa won't be the pushover many in France think they are.

If Lyon doesn't figure out a way to score against teams not named Dinamo Zagreb, they'll forever be known as the club who let a relatively unknown team from Cyprus into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

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