Lyon sitting pretty after easy progress from group

November 2, 2006

LYON, France, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Dominant Olympique Lyon qualified in style for the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare and have now set their eyes on their match at Real Madrid which may decide the Group E top spot.

The French champions, still unbeaten this season, have a maximum 12 points after their 1-0 home victory over Dynamo Kiev, three more than Madrid.

Like in 2004 and 2005, Lyon booked their place for the knockout round after four group matches and confirmed their ambitions must be taken seriously in the continental event.

Lyon are still to progress beyond the quarter-finals, stumbling at that stage three times in a row, but club coach Gerard Houllier says he is confident after beating Kiev.

'Our first half was simply outstanding from my point of view,' Houllier said. 'Sometimes this team can leave me dumbstruck when I watch them play.

'The match in Madrid will be some kind of group finale. We won't go there to chase a draw even if a draw would put us in a favourable position to get out in front,' he said.

'Trying to protect our lead is not part of our philosophy. Things never turned out too good when we tried to do that in the past. We like too much play and it's what we do best.'

A draw in the Bernabeu could be enough for Lyon to finish at the top of the table as it would leave Madrid trailing by three points before the round's closing match next month.

The French champions host Steaua Bucharest at Gerland stadium in December. Madrid take on Kiev on home turf.

Emerging first would mean Lyon avoid the other group winners and have the opportunity to play their last 16 second leg on their home ground, an advantage which proved decisive the last two years.