Lyon vs Apoel Nicosia – Champions League – February 14th 2012
France’s Olympique Lyon hosts Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus at the Stade de Gerland on Feb. 14th in an important round-of-16 Champions League clash. Lyon sits in fourth place in the French Ligue 1 with 12 wins, three draws and eight losses for 39 points in 23 games. Nicosia is in second place in the Cypriot league, just one point behind league-leading Limassol. They have 13 wins, four draws and three losses on the season and have allowed just nine goals against in 20 league matches.
Lyon manager Remi Garde said he has a healthy squad to choose from since his players aren’t suffering from any major injuries. Kim Kallstrom will be in the squad after missing Lyon’s 2-1 loss to Caen on Saturday due to a suspension. However, Dejan Lovren will likely miss the game despite Garde’s claims, due to an Achilles injury. Lyon made it to the last 16 by laying a 7-1 beating on Dinamo Zagreb during the group stage. Bafetimbi Gomis scored the fastest Champions League hat trick ever in that game and will play up front with Lisandro Lopez.
Nicosia shocked everybody by winning Group G in the group stage over teams such as Porto, Zenit St Petersburg, and Shakhtar Donetsk. Manager Ivan Jovanovic also said his squad is healthy and they’ll be depending on Brazilian Ailton to add to his three goals so far in the tournament. Midfielder Nuno Morais is expected to lead the midfield while Gustavo Manduca is expected to chip in with his experience.
This is the ninth straight year that Lyon has reached the round of 16 while it’s Nicosia’s first appearance at this stage of the event. Lyon has only reached the quarterfinals once in the past five years though, which was in the 2009-10 season. They’ve only lost one home game though during that five-year period, which was in 2006-07 when Roma beat them 2-0.
This is the first time Lyon and Nicosia have ever met as no Cypriot team has ever made it this far in the tournament in the past. Nicosia managed to draw all three of their road matches in the group stage and has allowed just three goals in six road games including the Champions League qualifiers. Three of those games resulted in clean sheets.
Lyon v Apoel Predictions and Best Odds
Lyon goes into the game with three wins, a draw and a loss in their last five games overall while Nicosia has a win, three draws and a loss, with all five games coming in the Champions League. Lyon has the edge in this game since Nicosia hasn’t played since early December. Look for the French team to win the first leg of this tie at home.
The latest odds by sportsbook William Hill have a Lyon win at 4/9 with a Nicosia victory at 7/1 and a draw at 3/1. Get free bets at the banners on this page.