Verdict: Too much form and not enough substance.
Cristiano Ronaldo suffered a difficult evening in Lyon on Tuesday night as the number nine showed his array of side-steps, flicks and even a tremendous back-heel through-ball to Kaka in the first half, but ultimately all the entertainment counted for little as the Los Blancos failed to find the net.
The match started well for Ronaldo. Positioned in his customary wide-left role, CR9 had the beating of Lyon right-back Anthony Reveillere in the early stages of the match as the Portuguese forward repeatedly bamboozled the home defence with a healthy splattering of tricks. Unfortunately though, much of Ronaldo’s good work in the first half was done away from the Lyon goal and the French outfit were rarely put under any serious threat of conceding to the Spaniards.
After Lyon scored early in the second half, Ronaldo’s play began to become more direct. In the 60th minute the world most expensive footballer had his first effort on goal, which Hugo Lloris turned aside with a fine one-handed save. Thereafter Ronaldo’s shooting was hit-and-miss, the striker scuffing a few efforts on target as he took on the responsibility of looking for an equaliser.
Credit for Ronaldo’s subdued performance also needs to be handed to Reveillere, who after the break closed his opponent down with far greater success and denied CR9 much of the freedom he was afforded in the opening 45.
As a bonus, highlights of Karim Benzema’s contribution against his former employers can be seen here.