Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lyon hoping things happen in threes

Olympique Lyonnais will look to complete a hat-trick of home victories against Real Madrid CF when the teams contest the opening leg of their first knockout round tie at the Stade de Gerland.

• Lyon beat Madrid on the last two occasions the clubs met in France although the Spanish giants are unbeaten away in this season's UEFA Champions League, including a victory at Olympique de Marseille on their last outing.

• The return of former Lyon favourite Karim Benzema, who left his hometown club for Madrid last summer, provides an intriguing subplot to a contest that pits together the respective coaches, Claude Puel and Manuel Pellegrini, for the second time on the UEFA Champions League stage.

Previous meetings
• The clubs first met in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage when Lyon defeated Madrid 3-0 at the Stade de Gerland through first-half goals from John Carew, Juninho Pernambucano and Sylvain Wiltord. The return in Madrid finished 1-1.

• The lineups in Lyon on 13 September 2005 were:
Lyon: Coupet, Réveillère, Cris, Caçapa, Berthod, Tiago (Pedretti 86), Diarra, Juninho, Wiltord (Govou 80), Carew (Fred 72), Malouda.
Madrid: Casillas, Salgado, Ramos, Helguera, Roberto Carlos, Beckham, Gravesen (Guti 61), Pablo García, Júlio Baptista, Robinho, Raúl.

• Lyon held the upper hand once more when the clubs met at the same stage the following season, Fred and Tiago hitting the first-half goals that earned a 2-0 home victory before a 2-2 draw in Spain. Mahamadou Diarra, who had lined up against Los Merengues 12 months earlier, scored against his old club as Madrid retrieved a two-goal deficit.

• The lineups at the Gerland on 13 September 2006 were:
Lyon: Coupet, Réveillère, Cris, Müller, Abidal, Tiago, Toulalan, Juninho (Källström 73), Govou (Clerc 82), Fred (Wiltord 78), Malouda.
Madrid: Casillas, Cicinho, Ramos, Cannavaro, Roberto Carlos, Beckham (Guti 55), Emerson, Diarra, Cassano (Reyes 46), Van Nistelrooy, Raúl (Robinho 69).

Match background
• Madrid are seeking a first quarter-final place since 2003/04 and have already won once on French soil this season, coming from behind to defeat Marseille 3-1 in their final group game.

• That success secured them first place in Group C, where they took seven points from a possible nine on their travels.

• Like Madrid, Lyon claimed 13 points in their section but finished second behind Group E winners ACF Fiorentina. The Ligue 1 side have fallen at this stage in the past three campaigns, going down to FC Barcelona 12 months ago.

• Lyon succumbed 6-3 on aggregate to the eventual champions, drawing 1-1 at home before a 5-2 reverse in Spain.

• They had previously overcome another Spanish side, Real Sociedad de Fútbol, 2-0 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2003/04.

• Madrid have lost their last three two-legged contests with Ligue 1 opposition, going down on away goals to AS Monaco FC in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and losing to Paris Saint-Germain FC in the last eight both in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup and the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

• Madrid won the first of their nine European Champion Clubs' Cups against Stade de Reims Champagne in the competition's inaugural season of 1955/56. They defeated the same opponents 2-0 three years later to claim a fourth successive crown.

Team ties
• Madrid coach Pellegrini got the better of his Lyon counterpart Puel when they met previously in the UEFA Champions League in the 2005/06 group stage.

• Pellegrini's Villarreal CF earned a goalless draw at Puel's LOSC Lille Métropole before a 1-0 home win earned Villarreal progress as group winners and eliminated Lille.

• Puel has had little joy against Spanish sides, suffering a 4-2 aggregate defeat by RCD Mallorca in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup fourth round while at Monaco. With Lille he enjoyed a 1-0 win against Sevilla FC in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage but suffered a round of 16 elimination by the same opponents in the 2005/06 edition.

• The Lyon coach faced Spanish opposition in his first ever European tie as a player, again finishing on the losing side. Puel's Monaco lost 2-0 at Valencia CF in the 1980/81 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round before a 3-3 second-leg draw. Nine years later Puel was in the Monaco team that beat Real Valladolid CF on penalties after a 0-0 aggregate draw in the quarter-finals of the same competition.

• A product of the Lyon academy, Benzema spent five seasons in the club's first team, making 112 league appearances and scoring 43 goals. He helped Lyon win four league titles and finished the 20-goal top scorer in Ligue 1 in 2007/08.

• Benzema's fellow Lyon old boy Diarra made 121 appearances for the club between 2002 and 2006 before leaving for the Santiago Bernabéu.

• Madrid's French internationals Benzema and Lassana Diarra could well line up against several national-team colleagues and the international connections do not end there: Lisandro may face fellow Argentinians Gonzalo Higuaín and Fernando Gago, and the same goes for Lyon's Brazil duo Michel Bastos and Cris with Kaká and Marcelo.

• Higuaín has French citizenship having been born in Brest when his father Jorge, also a professional footballer, was playing for Stade Brestois 29.

• Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo have both helped eliminate Lyon from the UEFA Champions League. The former was in the AC Milan side that beat Lyon in the 2005/06 quarter-finals, while Ronaldo scored the only goal when Manchester United FC recorded a home win against Lyon in the last 16 in 2007/08 to complete a 2-1 aggregate success.

• Sidney Govou was in the France side that overcame a Spain team featuring Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Raúl González in the last 16 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

• Casillas, Raúl Albiol and Ramos helped Spain to a 1-0 friendly win against France in February 2008. Lining up for Les Bleus were Lyon midfielder Jérémy Toulalan and Madrid's Lassana Diarra.

• Kim Källström appeared as a late substitute in Sweden's 2-1 loss to a Spain side including Casillas, Ramos and Albiol at UEFA EURO 2008.

• Rafael van der Vaart came off the bench to score in AFC Ajax's 2-0 win at Lyon in the UEFA Champions League group stage in October 2002. He also featured as a substitute in the Netherlands' 4-1 victory against France at UEFA EURO 2008, coming up against Govou, Toulalan and Bafétimbi Gomis while Jean-Alain Boumsong was an unused replacement.

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