Karim Benzema scored against his former club in the 65th minute and seemed to give Real Madrid a morale boosting away victory. But Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis tied the score in the 83rd minute leaving the tie finely balanced heading back to the Bernabeu in three weeks.
Lyon started the more positive of the two teams, creating a series of excellent crossing opportunities on the right only for Michel Bastos, Gomis and César Delgado to each produce disappointing deliveries.
It had been a subdued first-half showing from the nine-time European champions yet they conjured the first two shots on target either side of the half-hour, Ángel Di María shooting straight at Hugo Lloris before Ronaldo’s free-kick was pushed to safety by OL’s keeper. There was more zip about the hosts, though, and they almost went ahead following a lightning counterattack on 34 minutes. Bastos roared down the left and when Iker Casillas spilled his low cross, the ball fell invitingly to Gomis whose shot deflected over off the goalkeeper.
José Mourinho clearly found the right words at half-time because it was a different Madrid that came out for the second period and almost went ahead when Ronaldo’s sublime shot from the left side of the box flashed across Lloris and bounced out off the far post. Seconds later, Ramos glanced a header against the crossbar from Mesut Özil’s corner.
The tide was turning and it seemed only a matter of time before Madrid scored. Benzema had received a warm reception when he came on but the Frenchman quickly silenced the home fans by scoring with virtually his first touch. After some good build-up play from Özil and Ronaldo, the 23-year-old collected the Portuguese forward’s pass in the penalty area, darted cleverly into the space to his right before sliding a shot between Lloris’ legs.
Lyon are unbeaten against Madrid in six previous meetings and refused to give up with Gones making up for his first-half miss to tie the game, side-footing past Casillas after Cris had headed Gourcuff’s deflected set piece back across the box to send the teams to Spain level.
The draw improved Lyon’s record in the competition against nine-time champion Real to 3-0-4. The Spanish club has failed to reach the quarterfinals since 2004.