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Thursday, 04 March 2021

Real fail to break Lyon jinx yet again

Real Madrid extend their winless Champions League run against French side Lyon

Reuters , Wednesday 23 Feb 2011
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema scored against his former club
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Real Madrid failed to beat Olympique Lyon yet again when the French side struck late to earn a 1-1 draw in a cagey Champions League last-16 first-leg match on Tuesday.

Real looked on course to end a run of three successive defeats at the Stade Gerland when substitute Karim Benzema scored with almost his first touch against his former club midway through the second half.

But Lyon equalised seven minutes from time when the ball looped up from a free kick to unmarked striker Bafetimbi Gomis who struck from close range to ensure the French side avoided defeat by the nine-times European champions for the seventh game in a row.

Despite conceding a late equaliser, Real look well placed to reach the quarter-finals after going out of the competition in the first knockout round in the last six seasons.

“We got a useful and important result, finally putting an end to our bad run at this stadium,” Real director general Jorge Valdano told Spanish television.

“The team played very well and it was an authentic European match with a lot of intensity.

“In the second half we could have run away with the game, including the possible penalty, but we got a very favourable result in the end.

“We have a team that inspires confidence, especially in the Bernabeu.”

EARLY INITIATIVE

Lyon, semi-finalists last season, seized the early initiative with the lively Michel Bastos shooting over and Real rarely threatened until Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-range free kick was pushed away by the diving Hugo Lloris.

Gomis missed the best chance of the first half when his shot was deflected over after Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas failed to hold Bastos’s cross on a damp surface following persistent rain.

The hosts, roared on by their noisy fans in the famous Virage Nord stand, had other chances but Real hit the post early in the second half from Ronaldo’s dipping free kick from out wide and Sergio Ramos rattled the bar with a header from a corner.

The visitors also had a big shout for a penalty turned down before Benzema, cheered by Lyon fans as he came on, found space in the area and dribbled across a line of defenders to roll the ball neatly across the line.

Real coach Jose Mourinho had denied striker Benzema a start against his former club, plumping for Emmanuel Adebayor up front, but the Togolese struggled to make an impact.

Lyon rarely threatened to get back into the match but they struck from nowhere when a hopeful free kick from just inside the Real half took a huge deflection and fell kindly for Gomis who volleyed the ball crisply into the net as the Spaniards appealed vainly for off side.

The second leg takes place at the Bernabeu on March 16.

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