Lyon 1-1 Real Madrid - Gomis denies Madrid with late leveller
Wednesday 23 February 2011
Lyon’s top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis slotted home a late equaliser as the French side came from behind to earn a draw against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid. The goal cancelled out Karim Benzema’s opener and improved their unbeaten record against Los Blancos to seven games.
Before the game at Stade Gerland, the Madrid manager had been keen to stress that “history doesn’t count for anything in this sort of match” but knowing that Madrid have failed to advance beyond the first knockout round since 2004 and had not beaten Lyon in the previous six encounters, history was hard to ignore.
Unsurprisingly, it was Claude Puel’s men that settled quicker and looked the more comfortable early on. Gomis, deputising for star striker Lisandro Lopez, was well supported by Michael Bastos, Yoann Gourcuff and Cesar Delgado as they got forward in numbers. It was the Brazilian Bastos who had the first real chance of the game but his overhead-kick went just wide.
Gomis and centre-back Cris had pretty forgetful chances as the visitors grew into the game. Real Madrid started to enjoy the lion share of the possession without creating any opportunities of note. Puel’s side were well disciplined and presented Madrid with two banks of four - restricting them to efforts from distance.
Angel di Maria had a skidding chance before a 30-yard free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo forced a smart save from Hugo Lloris. Lyon, heeding the chances as a warning, were much more cautious in their approach and instead looked to hit Madrid on the break. On one such break with half-time approaching, Iker Casillas made a rare mistake and spilled a Bastos cross that nearly rewarded the restraint. The ball landed at the feet of Gomis but the Spanish keeper made amends by tipping the Frenchman’s effort over the crossbar.
Following the break, Madrid were much the better side. Ronaldo tried an outrageous effort from an acute angle on the left and were it not for the far upright, he would have opened the scoring. Lloris was helpless to stop the effort and he was again a bystander when Sergio Ramos rose highest to Mesut Ozil’s cross moments later, only for the fullback’s header to come off the bar.
It was, of course, third chance lucky for Madrid in the second half after Mourinho had swapped the ineffective Emmanuel Adebayor with former Lyon striker Benzema. Ozil and Ronaldo combined to set-up the Frenchman and he glided past two defenders before cooling finishing with just over an hour gone.
Lyon pushed for an immediate equaliser but the strength and organisation of the Real Madrid rear-guard action made it appear as though they would hang on for an important, historic victory. It wasn’t to be.
With just seven minutes remaining in normal time, Gomis latched onto a flick-on from Cris and stoked home a smart finish on the volley. The result means Lyon retain the chance of eliminating Real Madrid from the Champions League for the second successive year. The second-leg takes place in the Bernabeu on March 16th.