His new team may be old hands in the competition but for Olympique Lyonnais defender Aly Cissokho the UEFA Champions League is still something of a novelty as he prepares for what would be only his fifth appearance against ACF Fiorentina.
'Always a pleasure'
The left-back celebrated his 22nd birthday on the eve of the game at the Stade de Gerland and is hoping for more to celebrate against the Italian side. "It would be the nicest gift; it's always a pleasure to play this competition," said Cissokho, who is confident of Lyon's prospects in a section that also includes Liverpool FC and Debreceni VSC. "We can finish top of the group and our aim is to go as far as possible."
Confident and radiant
The teams also met in France on Matchday 1 of last season's competition – Lyon rallying from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw – yet, having joined Claude Puel's side from FC Porto in the summer, Cissokho will bring a fresh flavour to the occasion. "[The move] happened so fast for me, but I worked hard to be here," said the defender, who spent just six months at the Estádio do Dragão and was playing in Ligue 2 with FC Gueugnon this time last year. "I'm in Lyon to improve myself and I played well against Anderlecht, when I didn't hesitate to get forward. Now I feel more confident on the pitch; I feel radiant in this team."
Six straight wins
Lyon have not won in four home games against Italian opposition, although eight goals against RSC Anderlecht in the play-off round – part of a run of six wins in their last six matches - indicate the Ligue 1 side have hit the ground running this season. "This will be more difficult than against Anderlecht," said Cissokho, whose new club have reached the first knockout round or better in each of the last six seasons. "We'll have a tough game, especially from a physical point of view. Tactically, Italian teams are efficient. It's a tradition for them. But I think we'll get the victory."
Cissokho will be answering your questions in a Q&A with uefa.com readers, so if you would like to put one to him send it to us – in English stating your name, age and where you live – and we will select the best at the end of this week. To ask Cissokho a question, click here.
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