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By ESPN Staff

Giant Carew hailed after Bernabeu blitz

LYON, France, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon striker John Carew lived up to expectations at last on Tuesday with a man-of-the-match performance in their 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid.

The towering Norwegian, who was the five-times French champions' third choice striker behind injured Fred and Karim Benzema, was unstoppable at the Bernabeu.

He overpowered Real's defence to open the scoring on 11 minutes and was a constant threat to the Spanish back four with his pace, power and technique as Lyon made sure of the top slot in Group E.

'We now will put John in cotton so that he does not pick up an injury,' Lyon coach Gerard Houllier told reporters after the match.

With Brazil striker Fred and French Under-21 forward Benzema out until the New Year, Carew was making his first Champions League appearance of the season with only one goal in Ligue 1 to his credit from seven matches.

'I am very happy for him because he made some efforts to question himself,' said Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas.

'We trusted him and in Madrid he eventually showed his talent.

'He was just stunning, even the Bernabeu appreciated his performance,' Aulas said of the former AS Roma and Valencia player.

Another outstanding Lyon player was goalkeeper Gregory Coupet, who denied Ruud van Nistelrooy a last-gap penalty kick.

'I focused on what I had seen of Van Nistelrooy's games. I have often seen him fire low shots from the inside of the right foot,' said the France international.

'I thought that at a crucial moment of the game, he would not take any chance. So I lured him to my left side and it was alright.'