Benzema gives Real advantage despite Lyons' late equaliser

Lyons 1 Real Madrid 1

Jose Mourinho may have insisted pre-match that the past was just that, but it was a ghost from Lyons' past that saw Real Madrid emerge happier from a tight encounter here last night. Karim Benzema's instant impact was due acknowledgement that something special was required to end Real's barren run in this corner of eastern France, even if Bafetimbi Gomis's late equaliser meant it was not decisive.

"My team isn't scared of the [return] match, and isn't scared of history," Mourinho insisted of their bête noire after Benzema's contribution. It's widely accepted that the coach is keen to move on the 23-year-old – with whom the Portuguese last night insisted he was "very satisfied" – at the season's end, but it may just be that Benzema's parting gift, like that of another expensive French striking flop at the Bernabeu, Nicolas Anelka, is to help Real Madrid regain their European crown.

Real were seeking to break a record that had seen three defeats in as many games and no goals scored on their European bogey ground. Yet it was last season's semi-finalists who began on the front foot, and Michel Bastos toe-poked over from an acute angle in the fourth minute after Yoann Gourcuff's pass dissected the Spanish back line. While Mourinho's men enjoyed the lion's share of possession, a less refined Lyons attacked with greater verve and gusto in the early stages. Real were shaken.

It took Madrid almost half an hour to get off their first shot of the contest, when Angel Di Maria sent a 25-yarder comfortably enough into the midriff of Hugo Lloris. The second, some two minutes later, saw the France No 1 work up more of a sweat as he dived to swat away Cristiano Ronaldo's low free-kick.

Still the visitors struggled to get a handle on their opponents, and they gasped when Iker Casillas failed to gather the lively Bastos's low cross after a lightning breakaway. Fortunately for the nine-times European champions, the captain recovered excellently to divert Gomis's effort over the bar.

Real started the second period with a greater intensity, and Bastos was cautioned for hauling down Di Maria after losing possession to him, a card which will keep the Brazilian out of the return. Ronaldo was inches from exacting more punishment but his dipping free-kick smacked back into play off Lloris' left post. Moments later, a Sergio Ramos header hit the crossbar from a Mesut Ozil corner as Madrid moved finally to impose themselves.

Ronaldo fervently appealed for a penalty after another free-kick from the edge of the area appeared to strike Gourcuff's arm – which Mourinho later described as "obvious. He [the referee] was five yards away" – but he was about to be shifted from centre stage in dramatic fashion.

Benzema, the scorer of 65 goals in 145 matches for Lyons before his £30m transfer in 2009, replaced the ineffective Emmanuel Adebayor to a raucous welcome in the 65th minute and immediately showed why he was valued so highly. He won the ball with his first touch, transferred it to Ozil then raced on to Ronaldo's pass in the area. Taking out Aly Cissokho with a deft sidestep, he calmly sidefooted the ball past Lloris, before declining to celebrate in the midst of a gaggle of elated team-mates.

Madrid appeared comfortable, but Claude Puel's men profited from an unlikely slice of luck that they lacked amid their first-half industry.

Gourcuff's 83rd-minute free-kick deflected high into the air, and Cris's headed flick found an unattended Gomis on the six-yard line, where he duly sidefooted past Casillas.

"We would have preferred that they didn't score, but my team reacted very well," reflected Puel after the final whistle. "We showed again that we can compete with them."

Lyons (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Réveillère, Cris, Lovren, Cissokho; Toulalan, Källström (Pjanic, 77); Bastos (Briand, 70), Gourcuff, Delgado (Pied, 70); Gomis. Substitutes not used Vercoutre, Gassama, Diakaté, Gonalons.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Arbeloa; Khedira (L Diarra, 68), Alonso; Di María, Özil (Marcelo, 75), C Ronaldo; Adebayor (Benzema, 64). Substitutes not used Adán, Kaká, Granero, Albiol.

Referee W Stark (Germany).

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice