When Rudi Garcia masterminded a UCL win over Manchester City

Rudi Garcia has been the latest name linked with the Manchester United job. He does have history when it comes to their fierce rivals, Manchester City.

That is because, back in August 2020, Garcia guided his Lyon side to an incredible 3-1 victory over City in the quarter-finals of that season’s Champions League.

Pep Guardiola‘s side went into the tie as one of the favourites to win that season’s competition. However, they ultimately bowed out after a stunning performance from the French giants.

Let’s take a look at the reports linking Garcia with United, and how his Lyon side’s famous victory over Manchester City unfolded:

Rudi Garcia linked to United

Rudi Garcia has been out of work since departing Lyon at the end of last season. Could Manchester United be his way back into the world of management?

The National News have reported that the club has interviewed the 57-year-old for the role of interim manager.

The same report states that Garcia already speaks English, French and Spanish – which could give him an advantage over some of his competitors for the role.

Before his spell at Lyon, the Frenchman held managerial roles at Marseille, Roma and Lille. If appointed, United would be his first taste of English football – and the expectations would be high.

How did Manchester City v Lyon unfold?

City went into the tie against Lyon having defeated Real Madrid in the last 16 round of the competition. The manner in which they achieved the 4-2 aggregate victory, with Kevin De Bruyne putting in a starring display in both legs, meant they were amongst the favourites to go on to lift the trophy.

That win occurred in February 2020 – a month before most of European football was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

UEFA announced in June that teams would complete the Champions League in August. All quarter-finals were to be played in a neutral location over a single leg, with Portugal the chosen destination.

City were administratively the home team, but the change of plan meant that neither they nor opponents Lyon held the home advantage. It was a winner takes all clash.

The French outfit took the lead on 24 minutes, when Maxwell Cornet fired his effort in the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Ederson.

The score remained at 1-0 going into the break, but City had the best opportunities. Lyon stopper Anthony Lopes was called into action four times to deny them.

Guardiola’s side had to score the next goal. They did. That man again, Kevin De Bruyne, brought them back into contention on 69 minutes.

But within 10 minutes, they found themselves behind again. Just four minutes after coming on as a substitute, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele drove the ball in from inside the area.

It was the Frenchman on target again on 81 minutes – a goal that broke City hearts.

How did Rudi Garcia pull off a famous UCL victory?

The key to Lyon’s UCL victory was several key tactical decisions by Rudi Garcia, both before and during the match.

The Frenchman set his side up with a back five, with Maxwell Cornet and Leo Dubois operating as wing-backs.

With City’s wide players relatively narrow, Cornet could push up. Before Lyon’s first goal, he broke away from Kyle Walker, then picked up the loose ball and fired it into the bottom corner.

As per the above video from Football Made Simple, Lyon used this advantage to significant effect throughout the game, with Houssem Aouar regularly drifting over to the left-hand side and supporting his team-mate.

That, in turn, led to the direct ball over the top of the defence being a consistent option. Lyon’s second goal was scored due to Dembele breaking through City’s backline (although there were City shouts for a foul), whilst good pressure from the midfielders led to their crucial third goal.

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