Nabil Fekir worked his magic as Lyon shocked English champions Manchester City with a 2-1 loss in their Champions League-opener.

The Frenchman crossed for Maxwel Cornet to open the scoring in the 26th minute, before rifling home a second two minutes before the break.

Bernardo Silva pulled one back in the 67th minute after Leroy Sane had skipped past two players to set him up. But it was only a consolation, as Mikel Arteta tasted defeat as he stepped into the managerial hot seat.

The banned Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure as he watched from the stands and so did Arteta as City were punished by a stronger, slicker opposition and gifted Lyon their goals.

First, Fernandinho misplaced a pass and Fekir broke on the left. His cross was delivered with power and pace and Fabian Delph missed the attempted clearance with a horrible swing and there was Cornet to steer a finish into the corner.

City thought they had levelled in the 32nd minute, but Sterling was flagged offside, a tight call, as Ilkay Gundogan stroked a shot past Anthony Lopes.

The Lyon keeper then saved well from Delph in the corner before Rafael Da Silva, the former Manchester United full-back, was relieved not to concede a penalty when he challenged Gabriel Jesus in the box.

The Brazil striker was furious and so were City when Lyon claimed a second. Fernandinho was again culpable when caught in possession by Fekir and the flamboyant frontman collected a return pass from Memphis Depay and fired into the corner.

Dutchman Depay struck the post before Bernardo sparked City with his sweeping finish. Aguero, though, was denied late by Lopes and City suffered their first defeat at Etihad Stadium in the group stage since 2015.


David Silva of Manchester City passes the ball under pressure from Tanguy NDombele.

They might have had a difficult start to their Ligue 1-campaign, but there is a buzz about this Lyon side.

This display in Group F showed why, particularly the young talent now able to show their qualities on a bigger stage – and to a wider audience.

Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar may be familiar to Football Manager fans having been described as ‘wonderkids’, and the reality looks to be the same.

Ndombele is 21, like his midfield partner Pape Cheikh Diop, and the pair hustled and harried more experienced counterparts into mistakes. But the duo were not just enforcers and Ndombele’s ball to Depay, which he fired against the post, was sublime.

Aouar, at 19, was busy and beguiling on the left along with Maxwel Cornet, 21, on the opposite flank.

With Fekir, 25, leading this pack of young Lyons, they can only get better and serve a small reminder of Monaco’s fine side that reached the semis in 2017.

Maxwel Cornet [Lyon]
Maxwel Cornet [Lyon]

Mikel Arteta, Manchester City coach kicks the ball during this Group F-match.

With Guardiola serving a touchline ban after his sending-off in last season’s loss to Liverpool, this was Arteta’s moment in the spotlight.

He spoke well before the game, but talk is cheap. These are the occasions where he can demonstrate his own managerial credentials and stamp his own mark on the side.

With Guardiola putting his feet up and watching from a box in the stand, Arteta was far less animated on the sideline than the Catalan usually is.

Arteta was somewhat passive, studious, but his players did not pass this tough test and nor did he. How much input he had in the team selection may not be known, but it was clear he should have started with Leroy Sane on the wing instead of having an extra midfielder in Ilkay Gundogan and wasting Bernardo Silva on the right.

The Portuguese was isolated out wide and only made an impression when moved centrally and linked with Sane to score. At two-goals down, he might also have sacrificed a defender and gambled on two up front in Jesus and Sergio Aguero.

It’s the sort of thing Pep would do – and maybe why he’s so special.


Injured Kevin De Bruyne was missed by Manchester City.

How Manchester City were made favourites by bookmakers to win the Champions League remains a surprise – and concern.

Their odds will no doubt lengthen after this loss, but they should never have been in that position in the first place.

Yes they are in a group from which they should qualify, but they are not the City of last season yet when they broke records in devastating fashion.

Nor will they be until Kevin De Bruyne returns from his knee injury. The brilliant Belgian is the catalyst for this team’s classiest performances – and the difference between them lifting trophies or coming close.

City’s midfield was often found wanting under pressure from Lyon and unable to provide Gabriel Jesus with opportunities and options in attack. This is where De Bruyne’s absence was felt.

The pressure is on City to win the Champions League. It is the trophy craved by the Abu Dhabi-ownership and so too Guardiola.

But the players need to embrace the burden of expectation rather than be fearful of it.

Source: Sport360