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Chelsea Beats Copenhagen 2-0 in Champions League; Lyon, Real Tie

Chelsea Beats Copenhagen 2-0 in Champions League
Chelsea's French player Nicolas Anelka. Photographer: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea halted its form decline by beating FC Copenhagen 2-0 in their Champions League round of 16 opener, while Lyon scored late to tie 1-1 with Real Madrid.

Nicolas Anelka got both goals in Denmark last night to join Samuel Eto’o as the competition’s top scorer this season and end Chelsea’s three-game winless run. The Blues had won just one of their previous five matches.

“We are still alive,” Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said in comments posted on his team’s website. “Now I want to see my players do this again, again, again.”

Bafetimbi Gomis’s 83rd-minute goal gave Lyon the home draw after Karim Benzema put record nine-time European soccer champion Real Madrid ahead. The return matches in the two-game series are scheduled March 16.

Anelka scored in each half as Chelsea rebounded from a shootout loss to Everton in England’s F.A. Cup four days ago. Copenhagen was playing its first competitive game since the final round of the Champions League group stage on Dec. 7 because of the winter break in Danish soccer.

Chelsea took a 17th-minute lead after a mistake from former Blues winger Jesper Gronkjaer. Anelka gathered in the misplaced pass, took the ball into the area and shot past goalkeeper Johan Wiland.

Anelka doubled the lead nine minutes into the second half by running onto Frank Lampard’s lofted pass into the area and firing a first-time shot past Wiland for his seventh goal in six Champions League games this season.

Torres’s Toil

Chelsea’s Fernando Torres made his longest appearance since his 50 million-pound ($81 million) move from Liverpool last month. The Spanish striker, still seeking his first Chelsea goal, had four attempts on target before being replaced by Salomon Kalou in second-half stoppage time.

“The key to this game was the good movement up front from Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Torres,” Ancelotti added. “They started very well and for us it was easy to attack.”

Although Real Madrid failed to keep its lead in France, the away goal means it has the advantage going to the Bernabeu Stadium, where it has won all 19 competitive games this season. Madrid, eliminated by Lyon at this stage a year ago, is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.

Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris dived to stop Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick and Gomis had a close-range effort deflected over the Madrid net in a scoreless first half.

Immediate Impact

Ronaldo hit the post with a free kick just after halftime and Sergio Ramos’s header struck the crossbar. Benzema then replaced Emmanuel Adebayor midway through the second half and took just one minute to give Madrid the lead.

Mesut Ozil won the ball on the left side and found Ronaldo, who sent a one-touch pass to Benzema on the edge of the area. The Frenchman, who joined Madrid from Lyon in 2009, moved across to the middle and squeezed a shot through Lloris’s legs.

With seven minutes remaining, Cris headed a free kick into the path of Gomis, who was left alone in front of the Madrid goal to send a volley past Iker Casillas.

“At 1-1 the contest remains open,” Real coach Jose Mourinho said in post-match comments on UEFA’s website. “We have a slight advantage but Lyon are quality rivals.”

The final two round-of-16 matchups begin tonight as defending champion Inter Milan hosts Bayern Munich in a rematch of last year’s final and Manchester United visits Marseille.

Also yesterday, CSKA Moscow tied 1-1 with PAOK Salonika to become the first team to advance to the last 16 of the second-tier Europa League.

Sergei Ignashevich scored off the rebound of Wagner Love’s missed penalty in the 80th minute to give CSKA a 2-1 win over two games. Zlatan Muslimovic got PAOK’s goal in the 67th minute.

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