"Lyon with no Real difficulty," declared French newspaper Libération. "Wonderful Lyonnais," hailed Aujourd'hui en France. Meanwhile, the country's only sports daily L'Equipe summed it up simply in one word: "Galactic."
L'Equipe continued: "No one can doubt Lyon's ability after yesterday's performance. They have the respect of their opponents, huge resources, a squad capable of rivalling the best in Europe, a goalkeeper who combines quality and luck, support from across the country (except in Saint-Etienne), and a nice black shirt. What are they lacking? Almost nothing, except a European trophy like the one Didier Deschamps lifted on 26 May 1993 following Olympique de Marseille's success against AC Milan. But Lyon can now begin to dream of a similar success."
Having finished as top scorers in the UEFA Champions League group stage last season with 17 goals, Lyon look to be raising their standards even further after kicking off their campaign by putting three past Madrid without reply. The side who are seeking their fifth successive Ligue 1 title may not be able to match the past glories of their contemporaries like Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Stade de Reims Champagne or AS Saint-Etienne, but this result demonstrates they are certainly on the right track, though eleven games still remain in order to reach the final in Paris.
Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo was the first to compliment Lyon's clinical finishing, despite his team enjoying more of the possession. "Luck had nothing to do with this win," he said. "I call that efficiency. They had two chances and scored both when we were dominant. You need cool heads to be able to do that."
It is the second time Lyon have upset one of the European big guns, after recording the same scoreline at Stade Gerland against FC Bayern München in 2001, although that did not stop the German club winning the competition that year. Madrid can also take heart from the fact they suffered an identical defeat by Bayer 04 Leverkusen in their opening game of last season's tournament, yet still progressed to the Round of 16.
With a three-point lead already established at the top of Ligue 1, Gérard Houllier's men appear to be improving with every match, having won seven of the last eight. But the coach is refusing to get carried away by the euphoria of this result.
"I told the players to celebrate this moment," Houllier said. "But for me, I am just thinking about the next game against [FC Girondins de] Bordeaux. I don't care about beating Real Madrid if we don't progress. We still need at least another three wins to do that."
Eyes on Lille
LOSC Lille Métropole will hope to keep the French flag flying when they take to the field for their Group D debut against SL Benfica at the Estádio da Luz tonight.
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