This is my blog on the unpredictable world of football. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Real Madrid monster lifeless Lyon

It was a sense of deja vu for both Real Madrid and Olympique Lyonnais as they once again met up in the round of 16. The tie in Lyon was a 1 all draw, and fair to say like most of the first leg encounters a bit of a nap-athon. However Lyon came to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu with bags of confidence having knocked out a fairly underwhelming Real Madrid in last years match. It was clear from the outset that Lyon were planning the same 'hijack' game as last year. Puel's - Lyon Manager - idea was good in principle but he must have forgot who his opposite number was, the 'special one' (Jose Mourinho). This 'hijack' mentality that Lyon tried played right into Mourinho's mens hands, as the French side sat back and waited to catch Real on the break. Brazilian left back Marcelo's runs down the left flank were causing all sorts of troubles for the right side defence of Lyon, and early on Marcelo had a half chance denied by Lyon and French number 1 Hugo Lloris. It was a trend Lloris would have to get used to as Madrid looked likely to score every time they went on the attack. In the 37 minute Marcelo received the ball from a Lyon play being broke down, he then proceeded to play a beautiful one-two with Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo and produce some magical footwork to beat two defenders before hammering a shot that Lloris could only just manage to get a hand to and open Madrid's account for the night and make it 2-1 on aggregate.

The second half began with a substitution for Lyon as they looked to take back the tie with in-form striker Bafetimbi Gomis coming on for Jimmy Briand who failed to produce in the first half. Madrid again had a monopoly of chances, but Hugo Lloris looked determined to keep his side in the game producing some brilliant saves. Ronaldo looked dangerous at times but really lacked match fitness, as a few of his shots blazed wide or over the mark. But not even Ronaldo's off colour performance could stop the Madrid juggernaut as they made Lyon pay in the space of ten minutes. It began in the 66th minute when a long ball from the back was played to German playmaker Mesut Oezil, but he failed to reach it as it drifted past and former Lyon striker Karim Benzema used his pace to get to the ball before an out of position Cris to go one on one with Lloris. Benzema calmly slotted the ball between Lloris' legs making it 2 nil on the night and 3-1 on aggregate, surely killing off the contest. Lyon decided it was time for another change as they took of French international Yoann Gourcuff for Pied. Mourinho decided to possibly rest his star player Cristiano Ronaldo for the Madrid derby on the weekend, as he brought on the on-loan Adebayour. Two minutes later Madrid struck again as it was that man again Benzema coming back in defence to take the ball before playing it forward to Oezil who in turn flicked it on to Argentine Angel Di Maria to finish and wrap up the game 3 nil and 4-1 on aggregate. Real Madrid finally making it past the round of 16 as they lift their European curse. It was fair to say this was nothing short of a training match for Real, they were in control from start to finish. A real clinical effort that would have Mourinho happy for now, but I'm sure he will let his lads know they need to finish a lot better if they want to continue their progression in Europe.

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