Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Benzema gives Real the edge

LYON, February 23- Karim Benzema scored against his former club Lyon to earn Real Madrid a 1-1 draw here on Tuesday that puts them in a strong position to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Benzema put the visitors 1-0 up moments after coming on as a second-half substitute at a damp and chilly Stade Gerland, only for Bafetimbi Gomis to equalise seven minutes from time.

Gomis’s late volley extended Lyon’s remarkable unbeaten record against Real to seven matches, but Benzema’s away goal makes Jose Mourinho’s side slight favourites to progress ahead of the second leg in Madrid on March 16.

Lyon eliminated Real at the same stage of last season’s competition and the nine-time European champions are bidding to end an unwelcome run that has seen them fall in the round of 16 for the last six seasons in a row.

Lyon, meanwhile, are seeking to build on their first ever semi-final appearance last year and coach Claude Puel admitted he was disappointed that Real had managed to breach his side’s defence.

"At home, in the first leg, we would have preferred them not to score," he said. "It’s a bit of a shame, especially because we played a great first half."

Having beaten Real in their three previous encounters on home turf, Lyon began the game in enterprising style, their five-man midfield smothering the visitors’ attempts to play the ball through the middle.

Michel Bastos stabbed a shot over the Real crossbar from a tight angle on the right, Cris hooked wide from just inside the penalty area and Cesar Delgado had a penalty appeal turned down after an untidy foul by Sergio Ramos.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Angel di Maria belatedly called Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into action with a weak low shot before the France number one was given slightly more to do by a stinging Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick.

It was not long before the hosts were back on the attack, however, and Gomis was guilty of a terrible miss in the 34th minute when he side-footed over an open goal after Iker Casillas spilled a cross from Bastos.

Lyon’s re-emergence after half-time drew a thunderous roar from the home fans, but a reminder of Real’s attacking threat was quick to arrive as the visitors struck the woodwork twice in a matter of minutes.

Ronaldo hit the far post with a dipping free-kick from a seemingly prohibitive angle on the left-hand side, before Ramos sent a header crashing against the crossbar from Mesut Ozil’s in-swinging corner.

Ronaldo’s free-kick will have a more lasting impact on the tie, however, as it was awarded for a foul by Bastos on Di Maria that earned the Brazilian a yellow card that rules him out of the return leg.

Another Ronaldo free-kick sparked controversy shortly beyond the hour, with the Portuguese adamant the ball had struck the arm of Yoann Gourcuff in the Lyon wall.

Benzema, who left Lyon for the Bernabeu in 2009, received a rapturous reception when he entered the fray but he silenced the crowd after barely a minute.

Receiving a pass from Ronaldo, he drove across the area in a horizontal line before keeping his cool to beat Lloris with a low shot that Cris vainly sought to keep out with a desperate goal-line lunge.

Lyon’s proud unbeaten record against Real looked destined to come to an end until the 83rd minute, when Gomis atoned for his earlier miss by seizing upon a flick-on from a free-kick to volley into the bottom-left corner.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved