Kim Källström says Olympique Lyonnais will travel to Spain next month with "real hope" of reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after a late Bafétimbi Gomis leveller lifted the home side's spirits against Real Madrid CF.
Madrid looked set for their first triumph over Lyon at the seventh attempt when former Stade de Gerland favourite Karim Benzema struck shortly after the hour, yet the hosts rallied and eventually equalised seven minutes from time. While the away goal puts José Mourinho's charges in a strong position ahead of the second leg on 16 March, Källström believes scoring late on has given OL a psychological boost.
You could say that 1-1 is a good result for them but we feel we have real hope of qualifying now," the Swedish international told UEFA.com. "The late goal was very important, for our spirit as much as anything. It's good for morale. We had to dig deep to get the equaliser and we put in a lot of effort. Thankfully we were rewarded and the tie is still open."
The evening might have panned out differently had the Ligue 1 team capitalised on a strong first-half display. They created a host of promising openings but failed to find a way past Iker Casillas. Källström said: "We should have been more clinical. When you're on top against a team as good as Madrid then you have to make the most of it. We got in two or three good situations but didn't score. We knew they'd have a good spell at some point too."
Madrid's strong period came immediately after the interval when Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos both rattled the woodwork in the space of a minute before Benzema struck. Last season's semi-finalists refused to give up, however, and their goalscorer Gomis was delighted with his side's attitude.
"We showed a lot of character against one of the best teams in Europe," the French international said. "
We've already shown in the past that we fight until the end. It was the case last season, against Liverpool for example, and we've got another important late goal tonight." Like Källström, the former AS Saint-Étienne forward believes in OL's chances, saying: "It's going to be very tough over there but we definitely have a chance. There's still a lot of suspense so I expect the second leg to be a great occasion."
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