Real reeling as Lyon make progress

The result means the big-spending Spanish giants have been knocked
out at the last-16 stage for the sixth successive season. Cristiano
Ronaldo’s seventh Champions League goal of the season gave Madrid
the perfect early start as he netted after just six minutes to
level up the aggregate scores at 1-1. However, Madrid failed to
make the most of a host of first-half chances and they paid the
cost as Miralem Pjanic smashed home a 75th-minute equaliser for
Lyon to send Manuel Pellegrini’s men crashing out. With this year’s
final being staged at the Bernabeu, Madrid had high hopes of
reaching that final showpiece and the postmortem in the Spanish
capital will almost certainly leave Pellegrini under more pressure.
It would have been a different story though if Madrid had not been
so profligate in the opening period, with Gonzalo Higuain the chief
culprit. Madrid could not have asked for a better start as they
came out flying. There were just 16 seconds on the clock when Lyon
goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was called into action first, coming out to
deny Kaka, and within five minutes Madrid were ahead. Guti’s ball
over the top from inside his own half put Ronaldo in on the left
and his low left-footed drive fizzed under Lloris, who might have
felt he should have done better. After that Lyon had to withstand a
Madrid onslaught. Kaka, Ronado and Higuain all went close before
the latter missed an incredible opportunity to put Madrid 2-0 up in
the 25th minute. Some home fans must already have been celebrating
as Higuain broke in behind the Lyon defence and skipped past
Lloris, but with an open goal to aim for the Argentina
international’s shot from the edge of the box hit the near post.
Higuain then spurned another great opening two minutes later,
although this time he was denied by a fine one-handed stop by
Lloris. It was all Madrid in the opening 34 minutes, but Lyon
warned the Spanish giants how precarious their situation still was
as they fashioned a decent opening of their own. A deflected cross
reached Jean Makoun eight yards out, but the midfielder whose
stunning 25-yard strike gave Lyon their first leg lead, mis-kicked
and let Madrid off the hook. Makoun’s involvement in the game would
not be much longer as he was one of two men replaced at half-time
by Lyon coach Claude Puel, Jean-Alain Boumsong also making way with
Kim Kallstrom and Maxime Gonalons the players on. And that move
turned out to be key as Lyon looked a totally different side after
the break. The first promising sign for the visitors came
immediately after the restart when Gonalons won a header at the far
post, but his effort cleared the crossbar. Sidney Govou then blazed
another good opening over in the 52nd minute before Lisandro tested
Iker Casillas from 25 yards as Lyon started the second period on
fire. Madrid tried to stem the tide with efforts from Kaka and
Esteban Granero but neither hit the target and it was Lyon who
continued to look the more threatening. And the French outfit would
end up putting paid to Madrid’s dreams as Pjanic picked up a
lay-off from Lisandro inside the area before thumping a half-volley
past Casillas. There was no way back for Madrid after that and Lyon
could have added to the home side’s agony as Lisandro and Cesar
Delgado both missed chances when clean through at the end.