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Real Madrid and Chelsea advance to Champions League quarterfinals

Spanish club ends its drought against Olympique Lyon with a 3-0 victory and English team moves on with a scoreless tie against Copenhagen.

March 16, 2011|By Grahame L. Jones

Real Madrid rolled and Chelsea strolled.

The end result was the same, however, as the Spanish and English teams advanced Wednesday night to the quarterfinals of soccer's European Champions League.

Chelsea became the third English club to reach the last eight but did so in less-than-inspired fashion, settling for a 0-0 tie in London with visiting FC Copenhagen.

The Blues had won the first leg, 2-0, in Denmark on a pair of goals by Nicolas Anelka, and although they put some effort into adding to that lead, outshooting the Danish team, 22-7, they failed to find the back of the net.

The game was notable only in that Chelsea Coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was frequently seen shaking his head or throwing his arms in the air in frustration, opted to leave high-priced forward Fernando Torres on the bench for most of the game.

The Spaniard, acquired from Liverpool for $80 million in January, came on for the last 22 minutes, but by the end of the match he was still seeking his first goal in a Chelsea jersey.

The Stamford Bridge outfit also had a 10-3 edge in corner kicks, but perhaps because a goal was not really necessary, it never arrived.

"We should have taken advantage of at least one of the many chances we created," Ancelotti said.

Copenhagen Coach Stale Solbakken was satisfied with his team's performance.

"We have to realize that we were knocked out by a better team," he said. "However, it was a magnificent performance to get a goalless draw here."

In Madrid, meanwhile, Olympique Lyon's dominance of Real Madrid finally came to an end with a 3-0 loss. The French team had not lost to Real in seven earlier Champions League encounters, winning three and tying four. Lyon was the club that knocked Real out at the same stage last season.

But on Wednesday night, after some early resistance by Lyon, Real Madrid finally found the way to end the jinx.

A dazzling goal by Brazilian left back Marcelo, who danced through the Lyon defense before firing a shot past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, showed the way.

That came in the 37th minute. Lyon hung tough for almost another half hour, knowing that a goal would tie the game and the series, the teams having played to a 1-1 tie in France in the first leg.

Then, in the 66th minute, former Lyon player Karim Benzema banged in his 20th goal of the season for Real Madrid and, 10 minutes later, Argentina's Angel Di Maria made it 3-0 to kill any chance of a Lyon comeback and clinch the round-of-16 series for Real, 4-1 on aggregate.

"We are Real Madrid; it is normal to be in the next round," boasted Real Coach Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho had the decency to add that "that was not the case in recent years," referring to the fact that the nine-time champions have failed to reach the quarterfinals for the last six years.

"We produced the complete match," the Portuguese coach said. "We deserve to be in the next round. We controlled the game."

Lyon Coach Claude Puel was disappointed in his team's inability to rise to the occasion and blamed "stupid goals" for the defeat.

"We could not match them tonight," he said. "They put pressure on us from the outset and kept us down. We failed to raise the level of our game."

The quarterfinalists are as follows: Defending champion Inter Milan (Italy); Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (England); Schalke '04 (Germany); Barcelona and Real Madrid (Spain) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).

The draw to determine the quarterfinal matchups will be held Friday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, with the quartet of home-and-away series to be played April 5 and 6 and April 12 and 13.

The draw could be tricky for Mourinho, who coached Inter Milan to the title last season and coached Chelsea before that.

"I wouldn't like to play against Inter or Chelsea for emotional reasons," he said. "If I have to face those that were once my people, I will do, but it will require me to be more psychologically ready than if I were facing a team that is not in my heart."

Said Chelsea's Ancelotti: "I would like to avoid Barcelona on Friday because they're the strongest team. Actually, if I could I would put both Barcelona and Manchester United in the other half of the draw so that we could only face them in the final."

The final is set for Wembley Stadium in London on May 28.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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