Tetê makes impact at Lyon after leaving Ukraine’s war behind

The unexpected arrival of the Brazilian winger Tetê has given Lyon a boost in its bid to qualify for European competition.

The seven-time French champions added the highly-rated player under temporary rules allowing Ukraine-based soccer players to sign with clubs in other countries outside the normal transfer window periods because of the war back home.

The left-footed Tetê, who had been playing with Shakthar Donetsk, made an immediate impact in his first match with Lyon, coming off the bench to score the winner in the 3-2 victory over Angers last week. And that was after only three minutes on the field.

“I’ve known him for several years,” Lyon coach Peter Bosz said. “He’s a really special player. Honestly, I thought it was impossible for Lyon to get him. He has great individual quality, he’s strong in one-on-ones, he scores and gives assists. Now we’ll try to take him to the highest level, as soon as possible.”

Following a roller-coaster season marked by many ups and downs, Lyon is in ninth place in the league standings with eight games to play. Lagging eight points behind third-place Rennes, returning to the Champions League seems to be a tall order, but Bosz’s players have a good chance to secure a fourth-place finish.

Lyon faces a direct rival in the race for European spots in Sunday’s trip to Strasbourg, which currently holds the Europa League qualifying place, six points ahead of Lyon. Leader Paris Saint-Germain, which has a 12-point lead over Marseille, travels to Clermont this weekend.

The 22-year-old Tetê, who trained at Grêmio, joined Shakhtar in 2019. Mainly used on the right side, he scored 31 goals in 108 matches, helping the Ukrainian club to a league-cup double in 2019.

Tetê really came to international prominence in October 2020 when he scored one goal and delivered an assist as a Shakhtar team depleted by coronavirus cases handed Real Madrid a shocking 3-2 home loss in the Champions League.

Before he left Ukraine, Tetê had been in excellent form, with nine goals and one assist in the local league, which has been suspended since Russia invaded the country.

“I’m sure I can help the team,” said Tetê, who has signed a deal with Lyon until the end of the season. “Everybody knows that the Ukrainian situation is complicated. Without a doubt, the presence of several Brazilians convinced me to come here. I know that the club has a special story with Brazil. I had the chance to speak with Lucas Paqueta who said nothing but good things about the club.”

Famous for his pace and dribbling skills, Tetê has already won over his teammates.

“We congratulated him. He ’s got an immense talent and proved it in the space of a few seconds,” Lyon striker Moussa Dembélé said. “It bodes well for what’s to come.”

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