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.