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Cris conscious of Lyon task

Published: Monday 15 February 2010, 21.35CET
History will count for nothing when Olympique Lyonnais host Real Madrid CF in Tuesday's first knockout round opener, with the French club's captain Cris urging colleagues to forget past exploits.
by Xavier Cerf
from Lyon
Cris conscious of Lyon task
Cris sees Madrid as favourites to prevail in the tie ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LyonReal Madrid

Goals scored17
 
16
Attempts on target58
 
61
Attempts off target74
 
58
Corners50
 
69
Offsides37
 
24
Fouls committed185
 
136
Yellow cards27
 
22
Red cards2
 
0
 
Published: Monday 15 February 2010, 21.35CET

Cris conscious of Lyon task

History will count for nothing when Olympique Lyonnais host Real Madrid CF in Tuesday's first knockout round opener, with the French club's captain Cris urging colleagues to forget past exploits.

Olympique Lyonnais defender Cris has warned his team-mates they "cannot make any mistakes" as they gear up to welcome Real Madrid CF in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie.

The French club boast an excellent home record against Los Merengues in recent seasons, triumphing 3-0 in 2005/06 and 2-0 the following year, and they will be eager to post another success at the Stade de Gerland on Tuesday ahead of their trip to Spain on 10 March. "We're ready," said the Brazilian centre-back. "But this will be totally different. Those games came in the group stage. Now, with a first and second leg, we cannot make any mistakes if we want to go through. That pressure will always be there."

The 32-year-old was keen to paint the visitors as favourites, in fact, despite their failure to advance past this stage in the last five seasons. Not that Lyon can draw much solace from their recent knockout form in this competition, of course, Les Gones having exited at the hands of Spanish opposition in the shape of FC Barcelona last term. "We're not the favourites," he said. "Real Madrid invested a lot of money last summer and they want to play in the final at the Santiago Bernabéu. That said, everything gets decided on the pitch."

Manuel Pellegrini's squad contains a number of players who will be eager to decide matters on Tuesday, and Cris was at a loss to single out any one individual for special attention. "We always have to be careful with [Cristiano Ronaldo], but he's not the only one as Kaká and Gonzalo Higuaín can make the difference as well."

So too could former Lyon marksman Karim Benzema, who has recovered from a groin injury and will be desperate to feature at some point. "He's a great player as well," Cris said of the 22-year-old, who registered 43 goals in 112 Ligue 1 outings. "He's my friend, except on the pitch. We lived through some incredible moments with Karim when he was at Lyon." Fortunately for the hosts, they boast one of the continent's most exciting young goalkeeping talents in Hugo Lloris. "Hugo is as strong as Iker Casillas," enthused his captain. "He could even become better."

Last updated: 16/02/10 14.41CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000029/match=2000465/prematch/focus/index.html#cris+conscious+lyon+task

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