If there's one team left in the Champions League with the capacity to surprise, it'd have to be APOEL Nicosia. The Cypriots weren't expected to do much of anything in a group that featured FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St. Petersburg, but they ended up winning the thing (albeit unconvincingly). Now they get to face Lyon, who were even more unconvincing until the second half of their final group stage game against Dinamo Zagreb, which they won in rather emphatic fashion to finish second on goal difference.
All of that leaves Lyon fans, such as Lyon Offside's Inara, in a rather tricky place. They know they probably should beat their opponents, but with APOEL's ability to kill giants and Lyon's ability to kill themselves (see the home loss at Caen last weekend) this match could all go horribly wrong for the Ligue 1 side.
[It’s] really hard to predict just what’s going to happen tomorrow. APOEL could do a lot of damage. Caen wasn’t even trying to win last weekend, and somehow they did on Lyon’s home soil. Naturally, APOEL will want more. It also doesn’t help that Lyon periodically lose concentration midway through the game, as if the players forget for a moment they’re playing football.
If their attention wanders for even a second, APOEL will be waiting to punish them. That being said, if Lyon play with the same fire and spirit as they did against Zagreb (in the second half. I think they were sleeping in the first), it’s possible they may even qualify for the quarter-finals tomorrow. It’s a long shot, but you never really know with Lyon.
If Lyon show up to play, all should be well, at least until the second leg in Nicosia. APOEL have done well to get this far, but they've also been forced to ride their luck, and there's not much reason to think that'll continue. Perhaps Lyon can get their season properly back on track here.