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Sleeping elephant ready for action
by Paul Kennedy, March 15th, 2011 12:35AM

TAGS:  spain, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Jose Mourinho has won the UEFA Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, but it's premature to think about winning Europe's big prize with a third club. Real Madrid must first get over the round-of-16 hurdle at which it has crashed the last six seasons. It goes into Wednesday's second leg of its series against Lyon with the advantage of an away goal scored in its 1-1 tie in the first leg.

"My team is not afraid of recent history; statistics exist so that we can go out and contradict them," said Mourinho of Real's recent troubles in Europe. "Real is the biggest team in the world but is sleeping. It is like an elephant that is sleeping, its power is when it is alive. We have to be at our best because Lyon is a very good team with Champions League experience that could help them."

At the same stage last season, Lyon eliminated Real Madrid with a 1-1 tie in the second leg at the Bernabeu Stadium. This time, it will probably need a win on the road to advance.

"The conditions aren't the same as last season [Lyon won the first leg, 1-0]," said Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, "and a 1-1 from the first leg makes it even more difficult, but Lyon is not afraid of anyone."

Inter Milan's defense of its 2010 title could come to an end on Tuesday when it faces Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern has struggled in the Bundesliga, but its 1-0 win in Milan puts it in a good position to return to the quarterfinals.

In the other series, Manchester United and Chelsea play at home and are favored to go through. United held French champion Marseille to a 0-0 tie at the Stade Velodrome, while Chelsea beat FC Copenhagen, 2-0, in Denmark.

Barcelona, Tottenham, Schalke 04 and Shakhtar Donetsk are already through to the final eight.

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