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Real Madrid CF are in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw for the first time in seven years as goals from Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Ángel Di María eased the nine-time winners past Olympique Lyonnais.
After six seasons of disappointments at this stage of European club football's elite competition – the last of which came against these opponents a year ago – the hosts could have been forgiven for suffering a few pre-match nerves.
However, as soon as Marcelo had put them in front with an exquisite solo opener late in the first half, there were few doubts José Mourinho's side would falter. Benzema struck a second in consecutive games against his former employers after the break, while Di María made things safe with a chipped third soon after.
The hosts fared slightly better in the opening exchanges of an intriguing first half in which goalkeeper Hugo Lloris shone for the Ligue 1 outfit. The French international was first called into action when palming away at the feet of Mesut Özil, who was allowed to run free. In the same move, the 24-year-old then got down well to beat out Marcelo's menacing near-post shot.
Spurred on by their heroics here almost exactly a year ago, Lyon also enjoyed several forays forward as they sought the goal that would have edged them ahead in the tie. Argentinian attacker César Delgado had the best opportunity for Claude Puel's side when he sent a low curving shot towards the far post which Iker Casillas managed to tip wide.
Determined not to see their team fall for a seventh successive season, the home supporters roared Madrid forward and they were rewarded with an sublime goal eight minutes before the break. Thriving under Mourinho this season, Brazil left-back Marcelo ventured into an attacking position before playing a one-two with Cristiano Ronaldo. Showing all the skill and composure of a striker, he left Cris and Dejan Lovren in his wake and sent a shot in off Lloris' outstretched hand.
It was almost 2-0 moments later with Marcelo turning provider this time, but Lloris was there to brilliantly flick over Benzema's thumping shot into the turf. The lead was eventually doubled in the 66th minute, though, Benzema taking advantage of a tussle between Özil and Lovren before running through and slipping a shot between Lloris's legs.
The Lyon No1 was picking the ball out of his net once again eight minutes later after Di María accepted Özil's headed pass before chipping in to confirm Madrid's long-awaited qualification.
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