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Roma, Chelsea through; Real Madrid exit
March 06, 2008 06:58 IST
Roma knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League at the Bernabeu on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals, where they were joined by Chelsea and Schalke 04.
Roma's 2-1 win secured a 4-2 aggregate victory while Chelsea thrashed Olympiakos Piraeus 3-0 and Schalke beat Porto 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw over two legs.
The Italians never looked overawed by nine times European champions Madrid and were unlucky not to take a first-half lead when Alberto Aquilani's screamer from 30 metres hit the post.
Spanish champions Real, sorely missing injured striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy [Images], lacked ideas in midfield and bite up front but nearly took the lead themselves early in the second half when Julio Baptista's free kick from 25 metres hit the bar.
They fell behind to a flying Taddei header in the 73rd minute, shortly after having central defender Pepe sent off, and Roma's passage to the last eight was sealed by substitute Mirko Vucinic after a Raul goal had briefly restored Real's hopes.
Raul slotted Robinho's through ball past goalkeeper Doni in the 75th minute but Vucinic silenced the vociferous home crowd with an injury-time header as Real threw men forward.
Roma coach Luciano Spaletti was delighted with his team's second Champions League win in their fourth outing at the Bernabeu that condemned Real to their fourth successive first-knockout round exit.
"I expected a tough game but my team came here to get a result and they responded perfectly," he told a news conference.
"We suffered at times but we deserved to go through. We didn't steal this tie from Real. I think both sides played well and that makes the win here at this ground even more special."
Schalke, having reached the knockout round for the first time in three attempts, continued their run by beating Porto, whose left back Fucile was sent off in the 82nd minute.
Lisandro had given 2004 champions Porto a 1-0 lead on the night four minutes later with an unstoppable shot on the turn to force extra time but missed his team's final spot kick.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer kept Schalke afloat with a string of saves before denying Bruno Alves and Lisandro in the shootout.
Jermaine Jones then steered in the final spot-kick to start his team's celebrations at the Dragao stadium.
"That was a real fighting display," Schalke coach Mirko Slomka told Premiere TV. "We gave everything.
"It was a super performance from Manuel Neuer, and not only in the penalty shootout. He also made fantastic saves during the match."
If Liverpool beat Inter Milan when they visit the Italian Champions with a 2-0 first-leg lead next Tuesday then all four English teams will be through to the quarter-finals.
The match in west London [Images] was five minutes old when Ballack set Chelsea on their way by heading home Lampard's cross at the near post for his first Champions League goal of the season.
The pair changed roles as Lampard stroked home a rebound to make it 2-0 after visiting goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis could only parry Ballack's shot. Ivory Coast forward Kalou completed the scoring from close range shortly after the break.
"We held the ball well, we were patient and quick when we needed to be," Chelsea coach Avram Grant told a news conference. "I was happy because we played some clever football."
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage