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Tousart gives Lyon edge against below-par Ronaldo and Juventus


Lyon’s Lucas Tousart celebrates after scoring against Juventus during their Champions League round of 16 first leg match in Decines-Charpieu on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

Cristiano Ronaldo drew a blank as a Lucas Tousart goal handed Lyon a surprise 1-0 win over Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in France on Wednesday.

Midfielder Tousart netted from close range in the 31st minute to give Lyon a lead to defend when they head to Turin for the return on March 17.

The goal came with Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt off receiving treatment, but it was just reward for an excellent first-half performance by a Lyon side enduring a mediocre campaign in Ligue 1.

They then survived late Juventus pressure to claim their finest European result since defeating Manchester City in last season’s group stage.

Maurizio Sarri’s side have genuine ambitions of winning a trophy that has evaded Juventus for almost a quarter of a century now, but they could not claim a precious away goal here, with Paulo Dybala seeing a late effort disallowed.

“In the first half it was not the Juve that we know. We didn’t get going in attack. I am struggling to understand certain things,” said Sarri.

“We didn’t do enough given this was a Champions League match but fortunately we still have 90 minutes to turn it around.”

The match went ahead before a full house at the Groupama Stadium, including around 3,000 Juventus supporters allowed to attend despite calls from some French politicians to block their access amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, with a significant number of cases having been recorded in northern Italy.

Those fans, and the Juve squad, would have crossed the Alps with confidence. The Serie A leaders came into this tie as overwhelming favourites against a Lyon team looking like possibly the weakest left in the competition.

The visitors’ attack was led by a Ronaldo in fine shape, with the 35-year-old having scored in all nine appearances in 2020. He had netted 19 times since the beginning of December.

He and his club -- who have lost five Champions League finals since last lifting the trophy in 1996 -- are in a hurry to succeed in this competition, but they did not play like contenders to go all the way.

Agence France-Presse

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