Lyon v APOEL Nicosia: French side to bring Cypriots down to earth
APOEL FC surprised everybody by becoming the first Cypriot side in history to qualify for the Champions League knock-out stage, but they now face a daunting task away to a Lyon side hoping to justify their 4/9 price tag for first-leg victory.
In truth, the French side made much harder work of advancement to the last 16, finishing runners-up in Group D only after a sensational 7-1 win away to Dinamo Zagreb on the final matchday.
Their 7/1 visitors meanwhile, topped Group G, eliminating heavyweights Porto along with Shakhtar Donetsk.
They drew three of their six games in qualifying, making that the most popular outcome of any of their matches, and so some punters could be attracted by the 3/1 odds on another stalemate in this fixture.
While their sheer spirit made the Cypriot side a very difficult proposition for opponents though, there is no denying they struggled for goals, scoring as few as the side that finished bottom of their group, and failing to notch in their last two group games.
Bearing this in mind along with the firepower Lyon demonstrated in that stunning 7-1 win, an emphatic home victory looks a very real possibility, with 8/1 odds for a 3-0 triumph appealing.
At 6/5 to win giving up a one-goal start, punters should pay close attention to Lyon in the handicap markets, and the French outfit could also tempt many to overcome a single goal handicap by half-time at 4/1.
Bafetimbi Gomis is unsurprisingly 7/2 to score first, having hit five goals in six Champions League outings, though set-piece specialist Yoann Gourcuff could prove a value bet at 10/1.
The visitors’ main danger would appear to be Ailton, 8/1 to add to his three European strikes with the opener here, but as the away side could struggle for goals again, shorter 6/5 odds for Lyon to win to nil look more tempting.