Champions League

APOEL reach CL last eight

2012-03-08 08:13

Nicosia - APOEL became the first Cypriot team to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday when they beat French favourites Lyon 4-3 on penalties after their last 16 tie was level 1-1 on aggregate after extra time.

Goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis was the hero of the night after saving penalties from Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos; APOEL didn't miss one.

"It is the worst way to go out," Lyon's Swedish international midfielder Kim Kallstrom said.

"Over the two games, I think we should have scored more at home. Today, it was much more balanced. And when it comes to the penalty shootout anything can happen."

Lyon coach Remi Garde said there were "no excuses" but avoided criticising his penalty flops.

"We win as a team and lose as a team," he told reporters. "This is a big disappointment, we didn't have control of the game, we had some good chances but that's how it goes."

Although the Cypriots rode their luck at times this was not an undeserved win as they took the game to Lyon.

A nail-biting 30 minutes of extra time saw APOEL reduced to 10 men and substitute Ivan Trickovski shooting high and wide from the edge of area on 114 minutes.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in France, unfancied APOEL got off to a perfect start when Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Manduca slotted home from close range after only nine minutes.

But Manduca's night ended in red when receiving his second yellow deep in extra time although he was still given a standing ovation.

The 23,000 sold out GSP stadium was a wall of deafening sound and a sea of orange as APOEL's fanatical fans spurred the team on during the biggest game in the club's 85-year history.

A large banner in the home stand read: "Feel the terror of Nicosia" as APOEL's vociferous support ensured a hostile atmosphere for the French visitors.

Ever since the draw for the last 16 was made, APOEL were hopeful the tie would be decided at home and the fixture was set up perfectly with the Cypriots only trailing 1-0 from the first leg from a Lacazette strike.

Lyon began the match nervously but edged back into the game after going behind so early.

They knew an away goal would get them out of jail and Bastos should have done better than send his header over the bar from six yards on the half hour.

Then Ederson came close with glancing header from the same range but his effort went agonisingly wide of the far post.

Ederson also saw his free kick curling into the top corner pawed away by Chiotis.

The home side always looked dangerous on the break while playing a patient passing game hoping for cracks to appear in the Lyon defence.

Star striker Ailton was a constant threat winning fouls in the opposition half and proving a wily customer while Helder Sousa was tireless in midfield.

APOEL came out for the second half confident they could achieve another unlikely giant killing act.

And lady luck nearly smiled on the Nicosia club when a Helder Sousa free kick wide on the left was headed on to his own bar by Aly Cissokho.

Argentine forward Estaban Solari almost turned in a Constantinos Charalambides' driven cross from three yards only to see it flash across the goal on 71 minutes.

And two minutes later an unmarked Lisandro should have put the tie beyond doubt with a header that Chiotis tipped round the post for a corner.

With victory, APOEL continue their magical adventure after punching above their weight against more illustrious sides such as Porto, Zenit St Petersburg and now Lyon.

In terms of budget and status, APOEL are the smallest club left in the competition.

APOEL are the most decorated team in Cypriot football. A founder member of the Cyprus Football Association, they were formed in a sweet shop 85 years ago.

Read more on:    champions league

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.