Beşiktaş seeks semifinal berth in matchup against Lyon

Beşiktaş seeks semifinal berth in matchup against Lyon

Beşiktaş seeks semifinal berth in matchup against Lyon

AFP photo

Beşiktaş hosts Olympic Lyon in Istanbul on April 20 in the return leg of a 2-1 loss in a Europa League quarterfinals clash.

The biggest advantage for Beşiktaş will be the support of its fans at the Vodafone Arena, where the Istanbul club has yet to lose in five European games, winning two and drawing three. 

But Beşiktaş has also never kept a UEFA clean sheet at its new home, and will need a victory by two goals to advance if it concedes against the French club.

Coach Şenol Güneş will remind his Beşiktaş players that they cannot afford to let their defensive focus slip for a second.

“We’re disappointed, but we must stay positive because we know we can turn the situation around in the return leg and qualify,” Güneş said after last week’s first leg in Lyon.

A piece of good news for the home side came from prolific winger Ricardo Quaresma. The Portuguese star, who missed the first leg due to an injury, is expected to be on the filed in the crucial second leg.

Also on April 20, Manchester United will look to cash in on the away goal it scored last week in Belgium when it faces Anderlecht in the second leg of a quarterfinal tie at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have the advantage at 1-1 in the tie thanks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s away goal last week. The Armenian international is one of three main stars United manager Jose Mourinho is likely to reinstall in the starting 11 after resting key players for the 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Chelsea on April 16.

The club’s 35-year-old start Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who came as a substitute against Chelsea, is also expected to start against Anderlecht.

United can take comfort from having won all three of its previous home games against Anderlecht, which has yet to win in England.

Elsewhere, Schalke has plenty of work to do to retrieve its tie against Ajax, having lost 2-0 in Amsterdam last week.

Schalke is unbeaten in five European home games this season: Three wins by two-goal margins in the group stage followed by two 1-1 draws in the knockout phase, while Ajax has not won any of its most recent four on the road, drawing three.

Also on April 20, unbeaten at home in Europe this season, Genk has cause for optimism as it welcomes Celta after last week’s 3-2 away loss.

John Guidetti, who scored Celta’s third goal last week, has won over the Celta Vigo supporters in his short time at the club, and the Swedish striker wants to repay them by giving them a tour of his hometown of Stockholm in May.

“To play in any Europa League final would be motivation enough, even if it was on the moon, but of course for it to be played in Stockholm is a big thing for me,” Guidetti told “It’s where I was born, where I grew up – it’s in my heart.”