Lyon and Milan played out an entertaining goalless draw here last night in the first leg of their Champions' League quarter-final, with the absence through suspension of the influential playmaker Juninho perhaps costing the French champions the chance to secure an advantage ahead of the return leg in Milan next week. A tie against the tournament favourites Barcelona or Liverpool's conquerors, Benfica, in the semi-finals awaits the winner of this evenly matched contest.
"We had a great second half, creating two or three clear chances to find the net and it's a shame it ended in a draw," said the Lyon coach, Gérard Houllier. "The guys showed great will and were patient, even though it failed to pay off."
Andrei Shevchenko had the first effort on goal for last season's beaten finalists. Gennaro Gattuso slipped through a neat pass for the Ukrainian striker to chase and he hit a low effort, which was well saved with his legs by Grégory Coupet. Then after a rapid break down the left, Serginho crossed for Kaka to back-heel the ball to Shevchenko, but his shot was again blocked by Coupet's legs.
Although Lyon missed the dead-ball specialist Juninho, their best chance came from a set piece, when Benoit Pedretti whipped in a free-kick which beat everyone except Milan's goalkeeper Dida, who scrambled it out for a corner.
After the break Lyon had the first clear chance, John Carew wasting an easy opening only for Tiago to drive the rebound wide as Alessandro Costacurta slid in. Both sides made changes just after the hour, Milan calling on Filippo Inzaghi and veteran defender Paolo Maldini, while Lyon introduced their Brazilian striker Fred.
The French champions continued to press, with Tiago at the heart of their best work, but despite his industry Lyon struggled to break through Milan's experienced rearguard. As his frustration grew late on, Tiago pulled back Kaka and he will miss the second leg through suspension after he was booked.
Lyon (4-4-2): Coupet; Clerc, Cris, Cacapa, Abidal; Tiago, Diarra, Pedretti (Clement, 69), Malouda; Wiltord, Carew (Fred, 63). Substitutes not used: Vercoutre (gk), Muller, Réveillère, Govou, Benzema.
Milan (4-4-2): Dida; Costacurta (Maldini, 62), Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo (Vogel, 85), Seedorf, Kaka; Gilardino (Inzaghi, 62), Shevchenko. Substitutes not used: Kalac (gk), Rui Costa, Simic, Jankulovski.
Referee: K Plautz (Austria).Reuse content