Real Madrid Scrape Past Valiant Schalke into Champions League Quarterfinal

Real Madrid Scrape Past Valiant Schalke into Champions League Quarterfinal

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:58 pm

Defending European champions Real Madrid held off a valiant effort from Schalke 04 in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg tie to reach the last eight of the competition despite losing 4-3 to the Germans at the Bernabeu stadium on Tuesday.

Real Madrid had won the first leg 2-0 a fortnight ago in Gelsenkirchen but a spirited display from Roberto di Matteo’s side left the Spanish giants nervous until the final whistle blew to seal a 5-4 aggregate win for Real.

In a very open encounter that saw a record 19 shots on target, it was Schalke that made a bright start and duly broke the deadlock after 20 minutes through Christian Fuchs’ goal.

The two-goal advantage on aggregate was however restored just five minutes later when Ballon d’Or holder Ronaldo rose highest to head in a Toni Kroos cornerkick for his 40th competitive goal this season.

Rather than quell the threat, Schalke became inspired after Ronaldo’s goal and came close to retaking the lead on the night when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas to a loose ball in the 38th minute, only for the ball to roll wide of goal.

In highly dramatic manner though, Schalke did stun the Bernabeu crowd to silence again after 40 minutes, with Huntelaar seeing an initial shot come off the woodwork.

Schalke quickly regained possession after Huntelaar was denied by the woodwork and the Dutch striker made no mistake at the second chance he got, scoring on the rebound after Casillas had managed to keep out a Max Meyer effort on goal.

But just as earlier in the half, Ronaldo restored parity for Real with another header off a Marcelo cross on the stroke of half-time.

French striker Karim Benzema scored his 20th of the season to put Real ahead for the first time on the night five minutes into the second half.

The momentum from then on shifted to Real with Ronaldo, Kroos and Benzema denied by the Schalke goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther.

Wellenreuther’s heroics paid dividends as 19-year old Leroy Sane equalised for Schalke before Huntelaar set up a nervous finish six minutes to the end.

But Real held on for an unimpressive aggregate win against a Schalke side that ended a run of four successive defeats to Real in the competition.

The result saw Real fall to a second defeat in days and fail to win in three matches, having been beaten 1-0 in the Spanish league by Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and drawn 1-1 at home to Villarreal the previous weekend.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side is joined in the last eight by 2004 champions FC Porto that eased to a 4-0 thrashing of Swiss champions FC Basel, to complete a 5-1 aggregate win for the Portuguese side.

Yacine Brahimi gave Porto a 14th minute lead with a well struck freekick, while second half goals from Hector Herrera, on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro as well as Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar sealed a comprehensive win for Porto.

Two more teams will join Real Madrid and Porto in the last eight on Wednesday night, with Chelsea hosting PSG in a tie level at 1-1 from the first leg while Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk face off in Germany off a goalless first leg.

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