SERGIO AGUERO finally managed to tame Lyon and put Manchester City in the knock-out round.
But what a formidable opponent the French team have been on two occasions this season – leaving the English champions quivering both times.
Reuters6 Sergio Aguero sent Manchester City into the Champions League last 16
Reuters6 The Argentine striker headed a late equaliser that secured a place in the knockout rounds
Ivorian striker Maxwel Cornet looked certain to scoop the headlines by twice giving the home side the lead.
But Aymeric Laporte and then Aguero showed this City side have character to go with their flair by hitting back in double quick time.
It means they have qualified for the last 16 for a sixth consecutive season. And a draw against Hoffenheim in a fortnight will guarantee top spot.
Yet no matter how far they go in the competition this year, they are unlikely to face a stiffer test than Lyon have twice given them.
Pep Guardiola had something of an injury crisis – by his standards – in midfield with Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan all out injured.
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Getty – Contributor6 Sergio Aguero celebrates his late equaliser
Yet instead of handing a rare start to England Under 21 ace Phil Foden he opted to go with Raheem Sterling in a central position.
It was a surprising choice and a bold one against the only team to have beaten City in any competition this season.
The French side had come away with a sensational 2-1 win from the Etihad two months ago when Guardiola looked on in dismay from the stands.
This time he was in the dug-out but his team once again struggled to contain the lively home side with his makeshift midfield looking light-weight.
City had bounced back from that shock defeat by winning their next three and putting themselves on the brink of qualification.
Yet right from the off, Lyon looked capable of making it a double as they carved out a series of great chances.
Cornet – who scored in the reverse fixture – sent over a cross from the right which looked perfect for Memphis Depay.
Reuters6 Maxwel Cornet had twice given Lyon the lead in France
The former Manchester United man looked certain to score but got his feet in a tangle under pressure from Kyle Walker and could add the finishing touch.
A rare attack at the other end saw record signing Riyad Mahrez sting the palms of Anthony Lopes but most of the chances were coming for the home side.
City's French defender Aymeric Laporte had to make a superb last ditch tackle to deny Cornet as they sped through on goal.
But the home forward had an even better chance a few minutes later when Ferland Mendy whipped over a cross from the left.
Cornet took a touch and had the goal at his mercy but Laporte got back with a crucial challenge and the Ivorian scooped his effort over the bar.
Lyon had failed to win any of their three Champions League games since their famous win at the Etihad. What's more they are 15 points off Paris Saint Germain in their domestic league.
Getty Images – Getty6 Maxwel Cornet curls in a stunning effort to give Lyon the lead