APOEL continues dream European run
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP)
APOEL Nicosia extended its improbable run in the Champions League after a pair of saves from goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis gave the Cypriot club a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Lyon for a place in the quarterfinals.
Chiotis made two nearly identical saves by diving to his left to block penalties from Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos while APOEL converted all four of its own spot kicks.
The game finished 1-0 to APOEL after regulation for a 1-1 aggregate score, and neither side could break the deadlock in extra time.
Chiotis' final save then set off wild celebrations as APOEL's historic run reached another milestone. APOEL had already become the first team from this tiny east Mediterranean island to advance to the knockout stages of Europe's premier club competition, and few had expected the side to overcome the French powerhouse.
But Manduca scored in the ninth minute to level the two-legged series, sliding in to slot captain Constantinos Charalambides' pintpoint cross into the net.
Lyon recovered from a slow start and started pushing forward for a goal, coming close in the 24th when APOEL goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis just managed to push out a looping free kick from Bastos that was heading straight into the top corner of the net.
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A perfectly timed cross from Lisandro six minutes later found an unmarked Bastos in front of the APOEL net, but the Brazilian didn't get all of the ball and his effort sailed wide.
Bastos also figured in Lyon's best chance of the first half, coming in the 39th when he crossed the ball to Ederson whose header just went wide of the APOEL post.
Lyon dominated possession but their pressure up front for an equalizer left them vulnerable to APOEL's counterattacks, which the Cypriot side exploited. In the 27th, Ailton's pass found Charalmbides in the box but his shot found the side netting. Two minutes later, Kone's sliding tackle prevented a breakaway by Ailton. Helder Sousa's lob pass found unmarked APOEL forward Esteban Solari, but his low blast from 12 yards out was kicked away by Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Lyon upped the tempo in the second half but were lucky to escape an own goal when Cissokho's attempt to head Manduca's free kick clear bounced off the crossbar and out.
Lyon missed probably its best chance of the second half in the 72nd when Lisandro's header from inside the box forced Chiotis into a diving save.
Lyon again had most of the possession in the extra time, but its attacks only produced half chances against a compact Cypriot defense that didn't allow many openings for the French team's forwards to exploit. The French side came close in the 103rd when substitute Bafetimbi Gomis' header from a corner kick was smothered by Chiotis. Bastos' blast from the top of the box seven minutes later bounced off an APOEL defender and out.
Long-range efforts from APOEL's Brazilian substitute Marcinho sailed over the Lyon crossbar.