The Warm Down: City come back twice to deny impressive Lyon
Maxwell Cornet scored twice in only his third Lyon start of the season and troubled City's defence throughout. (Photo: Getty Images/Shaun Botterill)

The Warm Down: City come back twice to deny impressive Lyon

Manchester City twice battled their way equal to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League while Lyon will have to avoid defeat at Shakhtar next month to go through.


Manchester City wanted to take revenge for their home defeat in the first match of their Champions League campaign this season.

However, they were faced by an energetic and determined Lyon side that caused a lot of problems and led twice through Cornet's goals.

Although City were able to show their class and responded well to each setback and equalized with seven and two minutes of Lyon's goals respectively through Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero.

This means that they are through to the round of 16 and Shakhtar's 3-2 win over Hoffenheim means that Lyon will have to avoid defeat to qualify. 

Lyon's mettle in midfield shines

Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar were both excellent on the night, the young Frenchmen showcasing their growing partnership in midfield and they were responsible for City not showing the usual iron-clad grip that they usually hold in games.

They were both strong on the ball, looking to turn away from the press and first challenges and trying to thread through inventive passes for their pacey forwards.

While neither was directly involved in the goals, they were the difference makers on a night that City lacked their usual midfield supremacy.

At 21 and 20 years of age respectively, displaying their talent on the biggest of stages like this means that Lyon should be prepared for bids coming in from teams across Europe in January and the summer. Manchester City themselves have had an eye on Ndombele, seeing him as an understudy and eventual successor to the ageing Fernandinho. 

City's injury woes

City now have Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy on the treatment table.

It has left them looking light in midfield and although many expected youngster Phil Foden to start, Guardiola opted to fiddle around with his formation and put Raheem Sterling in the middle.

The idea did not work and coincided with David Silva having a rare off day.

Fernandinho was overworked and was consequently booked in 20 minutes with Sterling getting a yellow ten minutes after him.

Lyon were overrunning City and it was only the wastefulness of Depay and Cornet that saved City from being a couple goals down at halftime.

Fabian Delph came on later in the second half and was able to solidify things up a bit but with him surely going to left back against Bournemouth on the weekend, it will be interesting how Guardiola manages his midfield dilemma. 

Can City win the Champions League this year?

Although they only managed a draw, City showed great resilience in the nature of their comeback.

Aymeric Laporte not only scored the first equalizer, but he has also added a sense of stability and grit alongside Stones and both were excellent in repelling a lot of Lyon's attacks.

Interestingly, both of City's goals came from excellent set-piece deliveries which are an indicator of how well drilled they are taking into consideration that they are not the tallest of teams around.

Does this level of coaching and grit, combined with fact that the usual suspects Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and to some extent Barcelona have not been at their best this season mean that City should really be looking to win their first European trophy this season? Maybe.