APOEL Nicosia are through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League and will continue their spectacular and improbable run. They are the first team from the country of Cyprus to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition. After losing 1-0 away in Lyon, APOEL scored a first half goal in the home leg on Wednesday, then held on to force extra time and eventually penalties with the score still tied 1-1 after 210 minutes. Dionisis Chiotis made two fantastic saves in the shootout, giving his team the 4-3 shootout victory.
The goal was a brilliant one, scored in the 9th minute by Gustavo Manduca. His finish was a simple tap-in, but was set up by a great assist by Costa Charalambides that took an equal amount of fantastic effort and skill.
Lyon created scoring chances for the remaining 80 minutes-plus-extra time, but did not ever look like they had a fantastic chance of creating a winning away goal. APOEL defended brilliantly for the remainder of the match to force penalties, unsurprisingly. They were able to score on the counter and sit on leads for much of the group stages and the game felt like it was destined for penalties right when Manduca scored.
Kim Kallstrom, Ailton, Lisandro Lopez, Nuno Morais, Bafetimbi Gomis and Nektarious Alexandrou scored the first six spot kicks in succession, though Lisandro's make wasn't a simple one. He hit the post, then got a lucky bounce off of the back of Chiotis.
After Alexandrou's goal, Alexandre Lacazette stepped up to take for Lyon. The young star was the Bronze Shoe winner at the 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and he scored Lyon's goal in this tie at the Stade de Gerland, but the pressure appeared to get the better of him on this occasion. He took a stutter step before hitting his penalty, giving Chiotis more time to read where he was going. The result was a massive save.
Ivan Trickovski scored the next penalty for APOEL, putting Michel Bastos in a must make situation for Lyon. Lacazette gave Chiotis a gift on the previous penalty, but this one was taken swiftly and well-placed. Chiotis just made an absolutely stellar save to send his team through to the quarterfinals and send the fans in Nicosia into raptures.