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Trending: Huge police operation for EL


Man United seek first Europa League title

Blog - Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Van Nistlerooy woe after last-gasp pen miss

MADRID, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy said he was devastated after missing a last-gasp penalty that would have earned his side a first win against Olympique Lyon in the Champions League.

The Dutchman scored Real's second goal as they battled back from 2-0 down against a dominant Lyon on Tuesday and earned a penalty when he went down in the area as he challenged Cris for the ball in the 89th minute.

But he missed his third spot kick in five attempts when Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet guessed right, dived to his left and turned his low shot past the post.

'The team has a right to be pleased with their performance, but I don't,' the former Manchester United striker told reporters.

'I'm upset because the team played with a lot of guts and character to get back into the match and then I missed the penalty in the last minute.

'I didn't hit it well and it isn't good to be missing so many penalties, but drawing the game after being 2-0 down isn't a bad result.'

Even if Van Nistelrooy had netted his spot kick Real would still have in second place in Group E given that they lost 2-0 to Lyon in their opening match.

The French side have proved they have got the measure of Real over the past two seasons, notching up comprehensive wins at home and drawing at the Bernabeu in the four encounters between the teams.

Despite Capello's reputation for constructing teams with watertight defences, Lyon once again exposed the weaknesses in Real's back four with quick-breaking attacks and well constructed set pieces.

Missing four of their usual forwards, John Carew led the Lyon line in brilliant fashion and gave Real centre-back Fabio Cannavaro a torrid time.

The Italy captain, who will be named European Footballer of the Year next week, was unable to cope with the big Norwegian who skipped past him with ease to score Lyon's opening goal.

'Marking Carew is a very difficult task,' said Real coach Fabio Capello. 'I coached him at Roma and I've never seen him play like that before. If a scout had come to the match looking for a great player he would have seen one out there tonight.'

Despite the defensive lapses, fullback Roberto Carlos remained upbeat about his side's chances of making it past the last 16.

'They scored two early goals against us but we reacted well,' said the Brazilian. 'We aren't afraid of any team in the next round and if we play like we did in the second half we will have no need to worry.'