* Real have been eliminated in last 16 in last six seasons
* Lyon likely to be without injured forward Lisandro Lopez
By Mark Meadows
LYON, France, Feb 21 Jose Mourinho ended
Chelsea's half a century wait for an English title, he brought
European Cup glory back to Inter Milan after 45 years and now he
battles Olympique Lyon's mesmeric hold over mighty Real Madrid.
If there was ever a man to conquer a hoodoo it is the
Portuguese coach but he has more than one jinx to deal with in
Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg in France.
Lyon have beaten Real at home three times in a row in the
competition including last year where they condemned the
Spaniards to their sixth successive last 16 elimination.
Overcoming Claude Puel's team and the mental block of
quarter-final progress will be no mean feat but Mourinho, as
ever, oozes the confidence that prompted the nine-times winners
to appoint him last May.
"No one keeps me awake, neither Lyon nor anyone else," the
outspoken Mourinho told reporters after Saturday's comfortable
2-0 La Liga win at home to Levante where he rested several
"The night I don't sleep well is after the match. Ever since
we drew Lyon we have been following them. (Real consultant
Zinedine) Zidane knows them and has been giving me information."
On a personal note, Mourinho is bidding to become the first
coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs
after stunning the European game with Porto's 2004 triumph and
then taking just two seasons to mould a winning side at Inter.
May's victory in the final over Bayern Munich is still fresh
in his memory but with the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and
pumped-up striker Karim Benzema returning to face his former
team, Mourinho's prospects look as good as with Inter last year.
Lyon will not just have recent form against Real on their
side at the Stade de Gerland.
Their domestic performances have shown a marked improvement
of late with a 4-1 derby win at St Etienne and Friday's 4-0 home
thumping of AS Nancy boding well.
"You can see that pressure makes us give the best of
ourselves," Puel told reporters.
France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, bought from Girondins
Bordeaux in August as a marquee signing, has finally found his
verve after a slow start and Jimmy Briand's bicycle kick goal
against Nancy was on a par with Wayne Rooney's recent effort.
The only worries for Lyon are goalkeeper Hugo Lloris's bad
cold, although he is expected to return against Real, and
striker Lisandro Lopez's hamstring problem which is likely to
keep the Argentine out of the game.
"Lisandro is slightly injured, his participation against
Real is in doubt." added Puel, who has had a series of run-ins
with the forward.
Olympique Lyon: 1-Hugo Lloris; 13-Anthony Reveillere,
3-Cris, 5-Dejan Lovren, 20-Aly Cissokho; 6-Kim Kallstrom,
28-Jeremy Toulalan, 29-Yoann Gourcuff; 11-Michel Bastos,
18-Bafetimbi Gomis, 7-Jimmy Briand
Real Madrid: 1-Iker Casillas; 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 2-Ricardo
Carvalho, 3-Pepe, 4-Sergio Ramos; 14-Xabi Alonso, 24-Sami
Khedira; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 23-Mesut Ozil, 22-Angel Di Maria;
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)
(Additional reporting by Mark Elkington in Madrid; Editing by
Brian Homewood; To query or comment on this story email