Real Madrid cruise into the Champions League quarter-finals

Real Madrid 3-0 Olympique Lyonnais (Real Madrid win 4-1 on Aggregate)

Real Madrid eased into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in seven years with a comfortable 3-0 win over Lyon.

Madrid players celebrate their opening goal

The first leg in the Stade Gerland had finished 1-1, but Real, who have a 100% record at the Santiago Bernabeu since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, soon took control here, tearing into their opponents.

Hugo Lloris, the French international goalkeeper, was pressed into action almost immediately as Real sought to put the game beyond Lyon from the first whistle.

Lloris made good saves from both Mesut Ozil and Marcelo, before turning a thunderous Cristiano Ronaldo striker over the crossbar.

Lyon tried to counter-attack, but were unable to really test Iker Casillas, Cesar Delgado’s 20-yard drive, dealt with easily by the Real Madrid captain, as close as they would come.

In midfield, Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira were dominant, whilst Ozil was outstanding as he linked the play. For Lyon, Lisandro Lopez was increasingly isolated, whilst Yoann Gourcuff, the £18m playmaker, was non-existent.

Mourinho’s side finally made the breakthrough with eight minutes of the first period remaining.

Brazilian full-back Marcelo charged down the left wing and played a neat one-two with Ronaldo, before slaloming past Lyon defenders Cris and Dejan Lovren and firing past Lloris. The ‘keeper got a hand to the shot, but was unable to keep it out.

The breakthrough injected fresh impetus into Real, and they had the ball in the Lyon net once more three minutes later.

A super clipped cross from Ozil, the Germany playmaker, found the head of Karim Benzema, but the former Lyon striker was flagged offside.

At half-time Claude Puel, the Lyon coach, introduced Bafetimbi Gomis for the ineffective Jimmy Briand, as he looked to add more strength to his sides attack, but it was Madrid who continued to press for the games second goal.

Benzema and Sergio Ramos were both denied by Lloris, who also punched clear an Ozil free-kick, before the in-form Benzema added a second in the 65th minute.

A long ball from Marcelo caused chaos at the heart of the Lyon defence, and when the ball squirmed into the path of the French international striker, he coolly slooted through the legs of Lloris, his ninth goal in his last six matches.

Benzema, who cost Real £30m when he arrived from Lyon in the summer of 2009, now has six Champions League goals this season, and is finally looking at home at the Bernabeu and comfortable playing for Los Galacticos.

In the 75th minute Madrid put the game beyond Lyon once and for all, and it was no surprise that Ozil played his part.

A clipped ball from Pepe found the talented schemer, and his clever header put Argentine winger Angel Di Maria clean through on goal, the former Benfica man dinking a sumptuous finish over Lloris into the far corner.

Finally Real Madrid have laid the demon of Lyon to rest – in seven previous Champions League matches the side from the Spanish capital had never beaten the French side – and in doing so will move into the last eight buoyed by their own piece of history.

Whenever Real Madrid have knocked French opposition out of European football’s premier club competition – whether it be the Champions League or in it’s previous guise as the European Cup – the spanish side have always gone on to win the trophy.

The rest of Europe had better take note – the nine-time European champions are coming for trophy number ten.

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About AA_Richards

Football writer & all-round pen for hire. Can tiki-taka or counter-attack at pace. Differentiates Athletic from Atletico. Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/AA_Richards
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