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Lyon Nips Real Madrid In Champions League Play

freecompress NFL 026Jean Makoun scored early in the second half to give Lyon a hard fought 1-0 victory in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League matchup against Real Madrid. The Spanish champions lost for the third straight time on Lyon’s Stade Gerland home field and will now have an uphill battle when the teams meet at Bernabeu to advance to the next round. With the Champions League final slated to be held in their stadium, an exit this early in the competition would be nothing short of an embarrassment for Real Madrid.

Lyon controlled the play in the first half and held a decisive possession advantage. Unfortunately, they didn’t get many accurate scoring chances with a number of them going wide or high of the net. Despite Lyon’s time of possession advantage in the first half, Madrid actually got the best scoring chances in the first half. Following Makoun’s goal just 2 minutes from the start of the second half, Madrid controlled play but could not score the equalizer. For the game, Madrid held a 66% to 34% time of possession advantage.

Real Madrid has won the Champions League title 10 times, but now must rally from this 1-0 deficit when play resumes on their home field in May. Despite their tradition of success, Madrid hasn’t made it past the round of 16 for six straight years. Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t particularly worried heading into the home half of the matchup:

“In football anything is possible. We’ve lost here but we have a game at home in which we can repeat what they did here. I’m calm. In this competition you have to suffer. I’m sure that we will give a good answer in the return game and that we will win. The Bernabeu will help us. We will have to give to give it everything from the first minute until the last. The tie is not lost.”

Madrid General Director Jorge Valdano added:

“It’s been a bad night in general, especially the result. We had ups and downs during the match, but at no moment were we ourselves. The result means we have to really concentrate at the Bernabeu. Lyon barely stepped out of their half in the final minutes, but they made things very difficult for us for a long time, especially in midfield.”

Real Madrid will have to do without a couple of starters in the rematch. Marcelo and Xabi Alonso are suspending for the May contest due to bookings in previous contests.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.