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Real Madrid Get A Vital Away Goal In 1-1 Draw At Lyon

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Well, it could have been better. After Karim Benzema, the ex-Lyon player scored the second time he touched the ball (in minute 64), Real Madrid finally looked like they were going to take the three points from the Gerland for the first time in years. Sadly, it wasn't to be, as Gomis tied things up for the home squad in the 82nd minute.

The good news, though, is that Benzema's goal signifies a vitally important advantage for los blancos as they head into the return leg at the Bernabéu on March 16th: an away goal. Madrid will have a double advantage, then: 1) a 0-0 draw works to go through to the next round, so Lyon are obligated to score, and 2) Mourinho hasn't lost a home game in 8 years. Oh, and Madrid's defense is infinitely better at home (someone look up the stats on that--I'm too exhausted).

We should have been given a penalty when we were already up 0-1 on an extremely obvious hand ball in the box; I'm not going to say any more about it, because Mourinho already did: "There are other errors that you can't accept. There was a free-kick and in the slow-motion replay you can see it clearly. I was 50 yards away and I could see it. He (Stark) was five yards away with all his assistants and he didn't. I don't understand. It could still be decisive in the tie. I just hope it won't be." Yikes.

I did a live blog over on Bleacher Report for the game--you should check it out! You should notice--and you will because I'm pointing it out right now--that I correctly predicted the final score, saying "I could also see a 1-1 tie (Madrid is really bad away from home in the Champions for some reason)." Boom.

Anyways, I'll leave you with the conclusion I wrote in my sweaty state after biting my nails for the final 10 minutes of the game (I was worried that Lyon would come back, Arsenal-style, and sink us into a 2-1 hole).

In the end, after everything is said and done, Madrid can look back on this game and be relatively happy. Sure, Sergio Ramos played like junk, and is probably responsible for the goal (and could easily have been responsible for at least one more), and the defense looked pretty bad at times, but they went to a really tough stadium that has given them tons of problems and pulled out a good 1-1 draw. The away goal is always vitally important, and Madrid will be able to sleep easier thanks to Benzema's strike.

At the same time, the team showed a lot of weakness on the break. Lyon's first half was inspired, moving the ball from end to end in seconds; Madrid looked tired and out of the loop at times. After halftime, though, Madrid came out fired up and immediately picked up the pace. Benzema played an incredible 30 minutes of football as a sub, and managed to pick up a goal against his old team (always a good feeling). Mourinho will be terribly disappointed by Madrid's defensive mis-steps in the second half: as well as they played for the first 30 minutes of the half, they just couldn't keep it up.

Finally, Sergio Ramos looked terrible. I mean just god awful. Everyone was getting by him, he was making mental errors, and didn't add anything on offense (well, actually he did hit the post with a header). We'll have to see how this plays out, but Mou will surely consider sitting him in the next leg in favor of Arbeloa, and maybe bringing Marcelo back in.

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