Real Madrid’s hopes and dreams were smashed by Lyon on Wednesday, where the Spanish giants had a tied game but were beaten in the aggregate score, 2-1. No more final in the Bernabeu Stadium. No more Champions League. Real Madrid players were devastated by the result. This is yet another time Real Madrid has failed to advance to the quarterfinals; the team hasn’t made it since 2004. This year seemed to have incredible potential for Madrid, which was enjoying a winning streak and beginning to balance all the great new talent Coach Pellegrini purchased last summer. Even worse, the final was to be held at the Bernabeu Stadium this year. But Wednesday was not Real’s night; the team lost the first leg at France and had to make 2 goals in order to advance. And at home, there seemed to be real possibility. The game began well for Real Madrid, with strong energy in the players. Kaka was the first to make an attempt, but the goal was denied by Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Only five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo took a pass from Gutis to the left and made a left-footed shot that ended up in Lyon’s net, setting the score 1-0 in the game and 1-1 in the aggregate. Real Madrid had opportunities in the first half to set the score 2-0, but the players were unable to score. Kaka, Ronaldo, and Higuain were all close but were unable to complete. The closest was the play made by Higuain at minute 25, when he skipped by the defense and passed Lloris to make an incredible shot aE” but the ball crashed into the near post, denying the Spanish team a second goal. The second half was a completely different story; the French team started on fire, producing great opportunities. The first came at minute 52 when Lisandro made a 25-yard shot that tested Madrid’s goalkeeper, Iker Casillas.
Casillas was clearly starting to feel the pressure produced by the French team. French attempts finally brought results at minute 75 when Pjanic took a pass from Lisandro in the area; with a volley, he then passed Casillas to score Lyon’s first goal in the game. After that goal, there was no way back for Real Madrid. The team, already lackluster in the second half, didn’t fight anymore. In fact, Madrid was lucky the French didn’t score again, as the team had more opportunities at the end. As the French players celebrated the victory at the end of the game, Guti said that Madrid hadn’t played well, not as it used to. “We should have played more like a team instead of playing like a group of individuals. In the second half, we didn’t play as we should. They started to attack when they saw that we weren’t pressing we had before halftime. That was the time to be a team. Now, we can only think about La Liga, which is all we have left.” Despite the loss and questions about his career, Pellegrini stated that he would stay with Real Madrid to the end. He had no intention of resigning and would keep on working towards the team’s next goal this season: La Liga.