PARIS, March 16, 2011 (AFP) - Real Madrid ended a seven-year wait to reach the Champions League quarter-finals by beating Lyon 3-0 on Wednesday, while Chelsea drew 0-0 with FC Copenhagen to seal their progress.
Nine-time champions Real, eliminated at the last 16 stage for the last six seasons in a row, prevailed through goals from Marcelo, Lyon old boy Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria for a 4-1 aggregate success.
|Real Madrid's players celebrate their victory. AFP|
"The bad run had to end sometime and it did tonight," said Real coach Jose Mourinho, a European champion with Inter Milan last season.
"We won both games and deserved to go through as we were the better side."
With Benzema's goal in the first leg having secured a 1-1 draw, Real took the lead in the 37th minute when Brazilian left-back Marcelo skipped through the Lyon defence to score.
Benzema and Di Maria capitalised on hesitancy in the visiting back four in the second half to complete the victory -- their first over Lyon in eight attempts -- and nudge Real a step closer to a record 10th title.
"We did what the manager wanted and went out to win the game," said Marcelo.
"This victory gives us a lot of confidence and we owed it to the Madrid fans. We are not thinking about who we could get in the next round.
"We will just wait for the draw and see."
Leading 2-0 from the first leg, Chelsea kicked off their game at Stamford Bridge within touching distance of the last eight but received a shock when Copenhagen forward Dame N'Doye curled a free-kick against the woodwork.
The English champions largely dominated the encounter, however, and came closest to a winning goal in the second period when John Obi Mikel headed against the crossbar from a Nicolas Anelka flick-on.
"We didn't need to score tonight in any case as we had already won 2-0," said Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"We had a lot of opportunities -- I think it was 24 shots -- and didn't take them but I am not worried."
Real and Chelsea will discover the identities of their quarter-final opponents when the draw for the last eight is made on Friday.
Lyon found themselves quickly under pressure at the Bernabeu, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris racing from his line to deny Mesut Ozil in the fourth minute and then saving at his near post from Marcelo.
Cesar Delgado tested Iker Casillas with a low, curling strike at the other end but eight minutes before half-time the hosts produced a goal of real quality to seize firm control of the tie.
Marcelo scurried infield from the left flank and exchanged passes with Cristiano Ronaldo before cutting inside Cris, darting past Dejan Lovren and beating Lloris with a firm strike that the France goalkeeper could only deflect into the bottom-right corner.
Real continued to dominate in the second half but Mourinho's men had to wait until the 66th minute for their second goal.
A long ball from Marcelo was allowed to bounce behind the Lyon centre-backs and Benzema pounced to slot the ball beneath his former colleague Lloris for his sixth goal in this season's competition.
Di Maria added a third with 14 minutes to play, gliding onto Ozil's flick and lifting the ball over Lloris, as Real avenged their elimination by Lyon at the same stage of last season's competition.
"We found ourselves up against a great team," said Lyon coach Claude Puel.
"Bravo to Real, who deserved their victory and who can go all the way in this competition if they keep their defensive solidity."
At Chelsea, the hosts saw Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Yuri Zhirkov and Anelka threaten in the early stages.
After spending 25 minutes penned into their own half, Copenhagen came agonisingly close to taking a shock lead when N'Doye's whipped free-kick caught Petr Cech moving the wrong way and cannoned to safety off the left-hand post.
Zhirkov miscued from close range and Didier Drogba volleyed wide, before Chelsea's best chance of the game saw Mikel hit the crossbar after John Terry and Anelka helped on a Lampard corner.