Olympique Lyon did much to help
condemn Real Madrid to six years as Champions League also-rans
so the Spanish team's victory over the French side in the first
knockout round last season was a symbolic as well as a practical
Lyon have won three and drawn four of their eight meetings
since 2005 and inflicted a painful defeat on the nine-times
European champions in the last 16 in March 2010 when a
75th-minute goal stunned the Bernabeu and sent them through 2-1
The teams meet again in Group D on Tuesday and Real captain
Iker Casillas said he hoped the Lyon demons had now been
banished for good.
"Last year... it was important to get through to the
quarter-finals," goalkeeper Casillas told a news conference on
Monday as he reflected on a campaign that was finally ended by
Barcelona in the last four.
"Our overall record against Lyon is negative but last year
we banished the ghosts both of Lyon and getting knocked out at
the last-16 stage.
"Several years of not being up to scratch in European
competition does make you more concerned but last year we made
it to the semis and let's see if we can achieve more this time
around," Casillas added.
Last season marked the first time Real progressed beyond the
last 16 in six campaigns and under coach Jose Mourinho, who
joined the club after leading Inter Milan to Champions League
glory in 2010, they now have an eye on a 10th crown.
President Florentino Perez has spent hundreds of millions of
euros on players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and former Lyon
striker Karim Benzema as he bids to realise his dream of what
has become known in Spain as "la decima" or "the 10th."
Benzema scored home and away for Real in last season's 4-1
aggregate win over his former club and has been in impressive
form this term.
The Frenchman's strike partner Gonzalo Higuain is also in
the middle of a purple patch having netted three hat-tricks in
two weeks, two in La Liga and one for Argentina.
Mourinho, who also won the Champions League with Porto in
2004, refused to be drawn on which striker he would pick against
"I am not going to say whether Higuain or Benzema is
playing. Or if they both play or neither of them," he told
The former Chelsea coach returns to Real's bench on Tuesday
after serving a three-match ban imposed by UEFA for comments he
made after last season's semi-final defeat.
"That's old history," said Mourinho when asked about the
ban. "This is a new Champions League competition and a new
"Let's see if we can do better this time."
Real top Group D with six points from two matches, with Lyon
on four. Ajax Amsterdam have one point and Dinamo Zagreb of
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