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FOOTBALL >Beşiktaş visits Lyon without Quaresma, Aboubakar

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Turkish league leader Beşiktaş visits Olympique Lyon on April 13 for the first leg of their Europe League quarter final tie without injured Portugal international Ricardo Quaresma, while striker Vincent Aboubakar is suspended.

Beşiktaş staged an epic comeback against Black Sea giant Trabzonspor on April 3, earning three points with a 4-3 win. However, its lost winger Quaresma to a muscle problem in the 30th minute of the match. 

Aboubakar, the scorer of Cameroon’s winning goal in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations final, has been Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş’s top striker pick in UEFA competitions, scoring three goals in six Champions League group stage games and three more in three Europa League games. 

Turkish Super League top scorer Cenk Tosun is expected to replace Aboubakar in the first leg against Lyon. 

Midfielder Anderson Talisca, who has scored two free-kicks in two league games in a row, is another threat that the Black Eagles will be looking to. 

For Lyon, Memphis Depay is ineligible after already playing in the competition for Manchester United before his January transfer, while skipper Maxime Gonalons will be serving a one-match ban.

Lyon has been scoring at a rate of four goals per game since entering the Europa League in the round of 32. However, it lurched to a disastrous 4-1 home defeat against Lorient at the weekend, ending any slim hope it had of snatching a top-three finish in France.

Beşiktaş is unbeaten in the Europa League this season after dropping out of the Champions League. Since last season it has yet to lose a game in Europe at its new cauldron-like stadium the Vodafone Arena. The Istanbul side is also the only domestic champion left in the Europa League this season.

The second leg against Lyon is scheduled for April 20.


United head to Brussels

Elsewhere in the competition, Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan says his side cannot afford to underestimate Belgian league leader Anderlecht when it travels to Brussels on April 13.

The Europa League title seems to be the English giants’ best chance of returning to the Champions League next season.

Ajax hosts German outfit Schalke in the first leg in Amsterdam. The Dutch giant reduced Feyenoord’s lead in the Eredivisie to a single point at the weekend as they mount a late charge for a record-extending 34th title.
Celta Vigo takes on Genk in Spain in the other quarter-final.

April/12/2017

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