Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde wary of away goal danger against Lyon in Uefa Champions League

Last-16 tie is goalless ahead of Wednesday's second leg at Camp Nou

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said he would not be underestimating opponents Lyon going into their Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou. EPA
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said he would not be underestimating opponents Lyon going into their Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou. EPA

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says his side will be extra wary of Lyon in Wednesday's Champions League decider after Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain suffered shock eliminations from the competition, despite leading going into the second-legs.

After the last-16 first leg in Lyon finished goalless, Barca must beat the French side at the Camp Nou if they are to advance to the quarter-finals of a competition which they have underperformed in since last winning it in 2015.

The Catalans are overwhelming favourites and have an outstanding home record in the Champions League, remaining unbeaten at the Camp Nou since losing to Bayern Munich in 2013.

But Valverde said they need to be extra careful after witnessing Real Madrid's 4-1 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam after winning the first leg, and PSG's collapse against Manchester United.

"The fact that teams like Real Madrid and PSG have been knocked out is important and we will have to be wary of that in the game, and we are not underestimating Lyon," Valverde said on Tuesday.

"They have their weapons, above all, in attack and their fast forwards and I'm sure they'll try to make the most of that. They usually take the initiative in games, they know how important an away goal will be and they'll use that."

Barca have not lost a Champions League last-16 tie since going out to Liverpool in 2007 but have not gone beyond the quarter-finals since 2015.

Last year's elimination to Roma after winning the first leg 4-1 was particularly embarrassing for the club.

"We aren't thinking about what happened last year, we're thinking about the games now and have studied the first leg," Valverde said.

"We have seen the calibre of opponents by watching the other Champions League games and have seen that there are no small teams and a first leg advantage does not count for much. The score is level and if we want to go through we have to win."

Lyon, who are third in Ligue 1 but caused a surprise by beating Manchester City away from home in the Champions League group stage, have been boosted by the return of French forward Nabil Fekir who was suspended from the first leg.

Barca winger Ousmane Dembele picked up a hamstring strain in Saturday's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano, although Valverde said there was still a chance he could make the La Liga leaders' matchday squad.

Updated: March 13, 2019 01:10 PM

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