Real Madrid have never beaten Lyon and Manuel Pellegrini admits it will be at the back of his mind after they were drawn together in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round; a tie that means a reunion for the French club with Karim Benzema.
Madrid have failed to progress past this stage of competition for five consecutive seasons and they face a Lyon team that they have struggled with in recent years. Lyon played Madrid in the group stages in both 2005/06 and 2006/07. Both times Lyon won the home games and drew away, finishing top with Madrid second.
“Like all the other teams we could have faced at this stage Lyon represent difficult opposition,” said Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini. “The head-to-heads are of course important and need to be taken into account but they won’t be a determining factor. Lyon have been French champions many times in recent years while they have put in good displays in the Champions League.”
French-born Argentinian attacker Gonzalo Higuaín is given confidence by Madrid’s two group wins against Olympique de Marseille as the nine-time European champions continue their bid to reach the final at their home stadium.
“Lyon are a tough side but one that we can beat,” he said. “We’ve already faced Marseille so we’ve had a taste of the threat French sides can pose. Having said that, we will play the second leg at home and hopefully that will help us to get through.”
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