Benzema the cynosure as Real look to seal last-eight berth

Benzema the cynosure as Real look to seal last-eight berth

Thanks to the France international's goal in last month's 1-1 first-leg draw, Real are well placed to get past Benzema's former club Olympique Lyon on Wednesday and reach the last eight for the first time since 2004.

"What happened was I found myself again, I found my true level again," Benzema said in an interview with Spanish sports daily As published on Monday.

"I am in a purple patch in my career and I know I have to make the most of it," he added, as Real prepare to take on the side that knocked them out at the same stage last term.
The 23-year-old Benzema struggled to live up to expectations in the Spanish capital following his 35 million-euro ($49 million) move from Lyon in 2009.

After Gonzalo Higuain succumbed to a long-term back injury, coach Jose Mourinho has shown more faith and a double in Saturday's 2-0 win over Hercules took his tally to eight in his last six outings and 19 in all competitions for the season.

A further boost to Mourinho is the news joint La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo could be back from injury after the Portugal forward sat out the last two league matches with a leg muscle injury.

He has netted five in his last three Champions League games and has a total of 18 in just 30 matches in Europe's elite club competition for Real and Lyon.

Lyon, on an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions, warmed up for Wednesday's match with a 2-0 win at Sochaux. Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez has four goals in two games and looks in devastating form and Lyon could welcome back France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and Brazil centre-back Cris from injury.

Will Torres strike?
Barring an unexpected collapse on Wednesday Chelsea should ease past FC Copenhagen and into the quarterfinals. The burning question is -- can Fernando Torres finally break his goal-scoring duck?

The Spain striker has failed to find the net in five appearances since his 50 million pounds ($80.87 million) move from Liverpool and was overshadowed by Nicolas Anelka who scored twice when Chelsea won the first leg 2-0. Manager Carlo Ancelotti looks set to keep faith with Frenchman Anelka, scorer of seven Champions League goals this season, on Wednesday with Torres again likely to keep Didier Drogba sitting on the bench.