UEL QF: Beşiktaş – Lyon

Updated: April 20, 2017

Beşiktaş stand ahead of what could be an historic night in the club’s history as they find themselves one match removed from a monumental European semi-final, but in order to get there they will have to go through Olympique Lyonnais, who are ahead 2-1 on aggregate.

The Black Eagles found themselves leading for much of last week’s game in France, but in a matter of 60 seconds lost their narrow lead and even conceded a second goal, despite this shocking turn of events, Beşiktaş are still in a favourable position although they’ll need to beat Lyon in order to go through.

With an away goal in the bag last week Beşiktaş need just one goal while keeping a clean sheet to proceed, however if Lyon are anything it’s a formidable offensive side and it will be difficult to keep them off the scoresheet, especially with their defensive leader Marcelo Guedes serving a one match  yellow card suspension.

Beşiktaş missed their Portuguese magician Ricardo Quaresma last Thursday and with the knowledge of Lyon’s vulnerability on crosses from the wings, his contribution tonight could be crucial.

On top of that Beşiktaş already miss Vincent Aboubakar due to his red card against Olympiakos and they will miss him again tonight. Furthermore Beşiktaş were without star player Ricardo Quaresma last week and it seems to still be touch and go whether or not he and Adriano Correia will play tonight as both layers have been doubtful. With Adriano leaving training earlier in the week due to a minor injury the reports on his situation have been constantly changing, just like Quaresma there were a lot of mixed signals in the media on whether or not he would be fit to play. But according to the latest reports it looks like both experienced players will be fit to play and that is fortunate as Beşiktaş will need their leadership and experience to overcome Lyon tonight.

Beşiktaş will change their approach significantly compared to last week’s game, in which they effectively played in a 5-4-1 formation for much of the game, tonight the Black Eagles are expected to start off in their more traditional 4-3-2-1 formation with Quaresma and Babel on the wings and Cenk Tosun the lone striker with Anderson Talisca in his back. In the centre of defense Matej Mitrovic will take Marcelo’s place, although the Croatian international already started against Lyon last Thursday due to Quaresma’s absence and Adriano moving up a row.

The Black Eagles will need to find a goal but by no means should they feel rushed, Lyon have dangerous players and proved that they can be deadly on the turnover last week with their pace up front so Beşiktaş should not take too many risks early on and do what they usually do: control the pace of the game and patiently build towards chances. As long as Beşiktaş do not concede, they have 90+ minutes to find that one crucial goal. It will be interesting to see how Lyon approach this game, they’ve made it clear that this is the game of the year for them and that the success of their entire season depends on this match, should Lyon fail to qualify for the semi-finals, their chances of Champions League football next season completely disappears as they’ve already fallen too far behind 3rd place in the French Ligue 1.

That Lyon have made a total priority out of this match is no secret, they rested most of their starters against Lorient beofre last Thursday’s game and were again doing the same against Bastia this weekend, with only Ghezzal starting from the 11 that started on Thursday, fortunately for Lyon their match was cancelled due to fan irregularities, perhaps their club presidnet can blame Beşiktaş for that too.

Wh!ile this is without a doubt a potentially historic night for Beşiktaş and an extremely important match for both the club, the players and the fans alike, winning their second consecutive title still prevails above all else. Beşiktaş are still very much competing on two fronts, while Lyon really only have t he Europa League left, this could perhaps be a deciding factor although there is no doubt that all of the players will be extremely motivated, a European semi-final is something that few of them have ever been a part of and they know what’s at stake.

The referee for tonight will be the Serbian Milorad Mažić, who officiated 3 matches in the past for the Black Eagles of which they failed to win any, Mažić most recently led the Benfica – Beşiktaş match earlier this season in the UEFA Champions League group stages which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Beşiktaş JK (TUR) – Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)
Location: Vodafone Arena
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SER)
Date: Thursday, April 20th
Time: 21:05 CET
Channel: TRT 1 HD
Quarter-finals second leg
(aggregate: 1-2)

Beşiktaş predicted XI:

Fabricio Ramirez; Gökhan Gönül – Matej Mitrovic – Dusko Tosic – Adriano Correia; Atiba Hutchinson – Oğuzhan Özyakup – Anderson Talisca; Ricardo Quaresma – Cenk Tosun – Ryan Babel

Olympique Lyon predicted XI:

Anthony Lopes; Rafael – Mammana – Diakhaby – Morel; Tolisso – Gonalons – Valbuena; Ghezzal – Lacazette – Fekir

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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