Real Madrid was frustrated again by Lyon in the Champions League on Tuesday but Chelsea put aside its domestic troubles to comfortably win at FC Copenhagen and move closer to the quarterfinals.
Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis canceled out Karim Benzema's goal against his former club to clinch a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the round of 16. The result preserves Lyon's unbeaten record in the competition against nine-time champion Real Madrid, which has failed to reach the quarterfinals since 2004.
"They have good players, a good coach and experience in Europe, so the second match will be a hard one," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said through a translator. "I feel like I've taken part in a real Champions League game, a tough, hard-fought match with few chances."
Chelsea, which has never won Europe's biggest prize, secured a valuable 2-0 away win against Copenhagen after Nicolas Anelka scored either side of the break. The victory should ease the pressure on manager Carlo Ancelotti after Chelsea was eliminated from the FA Cup at the weekend and with the club languishing in fifth place in the Premier League.
"This is football, you must be able to move quickly after a bad result, you must continue to stay focused," Ancelotti said. "My players worked hard, played good football and the result is good."
Even before the season started, the Champions League was the key competition for both Chelsea and its former manager Mourinho at Real Madrid.
Mourinho, who has already lifted the European Cup with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan last season, is trying to become the first coach to win it with three different clubs. Benzema's 65th-minute goal appeared to put him closer to fulfilling that mission. He cut inside the penalty area with his first touch, weaved past three defenders and calmly beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. "At one stage we were closer to scoring a second goal than Lyon was to equalizing," Mourinho said.
But Brazilian defender Cris headed on a free kick and Gomis clipped the ball past goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 83rd to extend Lyon's unbeaten record against Madrid to seven matches. "The satisfaction is having stood up to them and still being in with a chance for the second leg," Lyon coach Claude Puel said. "We still have the chance to qualify and that's the most important thing. We will need to be more clinical in the second leg. We had chances in the first half where we could have done better."
In Copenhagen, the stage was set for Chelsea striker Fernando Torres to score his first goal since being signed from Liverpool last month for 50 million pounds ($81 million). But the misfiring Spaniard couldn't find the net against a Danish side lacking sharpness, having not played a competitive game for more than two months because of the country's winter break. Instead, Chelsea's top scorer Anelka was relied on for the goals.
The French forward's first came after 17 minutes, pouncing on a misplaced pass by former Chelsea midfielder Jesper Gronkjaer and powering the ball past Johan Wiland. A perfected placed pass in the 54th released Anelka to fire a low shot past Wiland into the far corner. Ancelotti defended Torres, who squandered several chances after being let down by his final touch. "The key to this game was the work the strikers did, always dangerous," the Italian manager said.
"Torres was unlucky he didn't score but had a fantastic game." Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken couldn't complain about the result as his team made its debut in the first knockout round.
"They were stronger than us and we made too many technical errors," he said. "They looked sharper and were quicker. Some of my players played very well and should have a positive feeling in a few days, but others didn't live up to what they achieved before.
"Maybe we will never be as good as Chelsea but, on another day, we could have been a lot closer to them. Chelsea were two goals better than us: no discussion."
The second legs will be played on March 16.
In Wednesday's first-leg matches, defending champion Inter Milan hosts Bayern Munich in a repeat of May's final and Manchester United is at Marseille.