Lyon dump Real out of Champs League

Miralem Pjanic strikes for 2-1 aggregate win as Man Utd destroy Milan on Beckham's return.

    Pjanic stations: The Bosnian scores the biggest goal of his career to put Lyon through [AFP]

    Real Madrid crashed out of the European Champions League last 16 as Lyon scored an equaliser at the Bernabeu stadium to win 2-1 on aggregate.

    Manchester United thrashed AC Milan 4-0 to go through to the quarter-finals in Wednesday's other match.

    In Madrid, Bosnian teenager Miralem Pjanic volleyed home a loose ball with 75 minutes left after Cristiano Ronaldo had cancelled out the French side's 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

    It means Real's expensively-assembled side will have to watch from home as the final takes place back at the Bernabeu in May.

    And there will undoubtedly be an inquest in Spain after the Madridistas spent $374.5 million in the summer to buy players like Ronaldo, Kaka and former Lyon striker Karim Benzema.

    But they were desperate rather than dashing as they fell to a side that failed to make an impression in Europe even in the days when they were consistently winning Ligue 1 in France.

    Reality check at Old Trafford

    The build-up to Manchester United's second-leg against AC Milan was all about David Beckham's first return to Old Trafford but football reality took over as Wayne Rooney scored twice and Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher added two more to give the Reds a 7-2 aggregate victory.

    ECL results

    Tuesday March 9

     Arsenal 5-0 Porto (6-2)
     Fiorentina 3-2 Bayern (4-4)

    Wednesday March 10

     Man Utd 4-0 AC Milan (7-2)
     Real Madrid 1-1 Lyon (1-2)

    Aggregate scores in brackets

    Beckham came on in the second half with the game lost and had a stinging drive fisted away by an uncertain Edwin van der Sar after the former England captain got a warm Mancunian welcome.

    Milan offered little and were left needing three goals to win as early as the 13th minute when Gary Neville put in a Beckham-esque cross for Rooney to nod home.

    A minute after half time, the England striker rendered Milan coach Leonardo's team talk redundant by touching in Nani's cross.

    Park scored his second Champions League goal on 59 minutes before Fletcher scored his first late-on to put United emphatically in the quarter-finals with a 4-0 win.

    An emotional Beckham said afterwards that the night had been one of his most special – despite the defeat – in an interview on ITV1 in which the interviewer seemed determined to make him cry.

    But he wasn't quite tipped over the edge, despite answering yes to the question of whether he thought this would be the last time he came back to the club he supported as a boy.

    "We've come up against a great United side and it was a difficult game but the thing I'll remember will be the reception from the fans," said the 34-year-old, who won a haul of trophies with United including the Champions League in 1999.

    "Coming back meant a lot, it's one of the best nights of my career apart from the result."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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