Misfiring Spartak offer Lyon route to last eight

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The Independent Football

Lyon head into today's final Champions' League Group C game at Spartak Moscow confident of the victory they need to reach the last eight.

Lyon head into today's final Champions' League Group C game at Spartak Moscow confident of the victory they need to reach the last eight.

The French revived hopes of qualification by beating the group leaders, Bayern Munich, 3-0 at home last week. They are now in third position, one point behind Arsenal and three behind the German side. A win for Lyon would see them reach the quarter-finals whatever the result of the match between Bayern and Arsenal.

If Lyon and Arsenal win, Arsenal would top the group with Lyon second ahead of Bayern as the French side have a better head-to-head record in the group matches. If Lyon win and Bayern avoid defeat then Bayern would finish top with Lyon second and Arsenal out. Spartak are bottom and cannot qualify.

Lyon will be without the suspended full-back Eric Deflandre, but will otherwise be at full strength. Spartak, whose European campaign ended with last Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, are eager to revenge their humiliating 3-0 defeat in Lyon in December - the first of four consecutive losses in the second group stage of the competition.

Spartak, however, may find it difficult to break open Lyon's defence after a disappointing showing in last Saturday's Russian league opener. Spartak were held 0-0 by the Premier Division newcomers Sokol Saratov and they have now gone five matches without scoring. The Muscovites will also be without their sweeper, Dmitry Ananko, who tore his thigh muscle in the first half against Sokol and is likely to be out for four weeks.

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