Karim Benzema netted the opener against his former club with his first touch after coming on as a second-half substitute before Bafetimbi Gomis slotted home seven minutes from time to earn a draw.
Real Madrid’s French striker squeezed his shot through Hugo Lloris’ legs in the 65th minute after Mesut Ãƒâ€“zi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined well to put the forward through on goal.
But Lyon drew level when Cris nodded the ball into the path of Gomis for the 25-year-old France forward to volley his effort past Iker Casillas.
Madrid have been knocked out at the last-16 stage for the last six seasons but Mourinho is confident his men can put an end to that unwanted record by progressing to the quarter-finals in the return leg in two weeks’ time.
“We have taken a step forward,” said Mourinho afterwards. “It’s the first time we have scored a goal in Lyon. Everything is left open against a quality opponent but I hope the BernabÃƒÂ©u helps the team create a magical European night.”
The former Chelsea boss added: “I feel like I watched a real Champions League match: hard and well contested with very few clear chances due to the defensive rigour on both sides,” said Mourinho afterwards.
“In the second half we managed to find spaces and, to begin with, we were closer to a second goal than Lyon were to an equaliser.
“But it sets things up well for the second leg, where we will hope to qualify in front of our supporters.”
Elsewhere, Nicolas Anelka struck twice to earn Chelsea a comfortable 2-0 win at FC Copenhagen and ease the pressure on under-fire manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The Frenchman scored either side of the break as the Premier League champions overcame the first Danish side to reach the last-16 and boost their chances of a European quarter-final spot after falling short domestically this season.
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