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Champions League review: Lyon qualify on a night of dead rubbers

TAGs: champions league, Lyon

The final matches of the Champions League group games bite the dust with Lyon finding the draw they needed to go through on a bitterly cold night in Ukraine.

Once, I found a big red balloon in my father’s underpants draws. I came downstairs, with the thing dangling from my mouth, complaining that I couldn’t blow the thing up.

My Dad laughed; my mother, not so much.

Have you ever heard of the Geronimo? 

Check it out.

So that’s what I had in my mouth, not a balloon, but an old-fashioned reusable condom that had my dad’s one-eyed trouser snake, and baby juice, coated all over it.

And that unfortunate memory reared itself when assessing the final Champions League group games.

Dead rubbers.

Only one match had the potential to prick a balloon.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon.

With Manchester City safely through to the knockout stages, and Hoffenheim rooted to the foot of the table, the Ukrainians and the French duked it out for the final spot in Group F with all the other groups done and dusted.

Champions League Review: Lyon qualify on a night of dead rubbersThe bookies couldn’t separate them.

Lyon at 21/10 was the best team, but Shakhtar at 11/8 had home advantage, and when the referee has to pull the orange ball out of storage because it’s teeming down with snow, that home advantage counts for something.

There was a delayed kickoff after some smart arse gangster threw a smoke bomb onto the pitch. If it was a ploy to prevent the French from finding their way to the Shakhtar goal it didn’t work. Lyon had 17 shots compared to six for the hosts.

Shakhtar did score the opener when Ribeiro Moraes Junior finished smartly after being found with a cute pass from Ismaily, but Lyon reacted brilliantly with Memphis Depay and Ferland Mendy spurning good chances to take Lyon into the half-time break on an even keel.

The second half was attack versus defence as Shakhtar fell deeper and deeper in an attempt to hold on to that slender one-goal lead. Mendy saw a shot loop over the Shakhtar keeper only to nestle on the roof of the net, and Depay had chance after chance until the Lyon captain Fekir took control of proceedings. Depay found space on the right-hand side of the box, turned the defender smartly before threading the ball to Fekir, and one-touch later it was massaging the roof of the net.

Lyon had earned their point, and with it, qualification into the knockout stages.

Here are the other results, none of which were as impressive as the YouTube clip of Fred Brewster talking about wearing the inner tube of a bicycle when mounting his dear wife.  

Results in Full

Plzen 2 v 1 Roma
Real Madrid 0 v 3 CSKA Moscow
Young Boys 2 v 1 Juventus
Benfica 1 v 0 AEK
Shakhtar Donetsk 1 v 1 Lyon
Man City 2 v 1 Hoffenheim
Ajax 3 v 3 Bayern
Valencia 2 v 1 Man Utd

Final Standings

Group A

1. Dortmund – 13 (Q)
2. Atlético Madrid – 13 (Q)
3. Club Brugge – 6
4. Monaco – 1

Group B Table

1. Barcelona – 14 (Q)
2. Spurs – 8 (Q)
3. Inter – 8
4. PSV – 2

Group C

1. PSG – 11 (Q)
2. Liverpool – 9 (Q)
3. Napoli – 9
4. Red Star Belgrade – 4

Group D

1. Porto (16 (Q)
2. Schalke 04 – 11 (Q)
3. Galatasary – 4
4. Lokomotive Moscow – 3

Group E

1. Bayern – 14 (Q)
2. Ajax – 12 (Q)
3. Benfica – 7
4. AEK – 0

Group F

1. Man City – 13 (Q)
2. Lyon – 8 (Q)
3. Shakhtar Donetsk – 6
4. Hoffenheim – 3

Group G

1. Real Madrid – 12 (Q)
2. Roma – 9 (Q)
3. Plzeñ – 7
4. CSKA Moscow – 7

Group H

1. Juventus – 12 (Q)
2. Man Utd – 10 (Q)
3. Valencia – 8
4. Young Boys – 4

UEFA will hold the draw for the knockout stages on 17 December.

Here are the odds.

Champions League Winning Odds

Man City – 7/2
Barcelona – 5/1
Juventus 11/2

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