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PHOTOS: Holders Real squeeze past Schalke into last eight

March 11, 2015 11:30 IST
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Images from the Champions League matches played on Tuesday

Schalke 04's Leon Goretzka covers his face with his jersey after they losing their round of 16 second leg soccer match against Real Madrid

Schalke 04's Leon Goretzka covers his face with his jersey after being knocked out of the Champions League despite beating Real Madrid 4-3 in their Round of 16 second leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Tuesday. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Holders Real Madrid survived a huge scare when they lost 4-3 to Schalke 04 in the Champions League on Tuesday but squeezed into the quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate thanks to record European marksman Cristiano Ronaldo.

- Champions League: Lucky Real scrape through; Porto rout Basel

Coming hard on the heels of a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga last weekend, the loss to a battling Schalke side did nothing to dispel the impression Real have lost their way and they were whistled off the Bernabeu pitch by their angry fans.

Two first-half goals from Ronaldo, which took his tally in European competition to a record 78 goals, and a Karim Benzema strike just after the break saw Real reach the last eight but Schalke came close to pulling off a remarkable comeback.

Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice for the visitors, including a superb late winner on the night, after Christian Fuchs has put the German side in front after 20 minutes, with substitute Leroy Sane also on target for the Bundesliga side.

Real Madrid's Toni Kroos (left) and Raphael Varane (right) are involved in an aerial challenge with Schalke 04's Marco Hoger

Real Madrid's Toni Kroos (left) and Raphael Varane (right) are involved in an aerial challenge with Schalke 04's Marco Hoger. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

It was Real's first Champions League defeat at home in 22 games since Barcelona beat them 2-0 in April 2011 and was only the second time the world's richest club by income had conceded four goals in a European game at the Bernabeu.

"We didn't play well but sometimes you have to suffer," Real midfielder Luka Modric, returning to action as a second-half substitute after a long-term injury absence, said in an interview with Spanish television.

"We have to play as a team and hopefully we will get back to playing the way we did at the start of the season," added the Croatia international, who had been sidelined since November.

"We have the quality and I think we will see the best version of Real Madrid in the next match."

Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (2nd from left) celebrates scoring their fourth goal

Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (2nd from left) celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Schalke came out fighting and took a deserved lead when Fuchs' shot ricocheted into the net off Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Ronaldo levelled from a Toni Kroos corner five minutes later before former Real striker Huntelaar, who moments earlier had struck a fierce shot against the crossbar, put Schalke 2-1 ahead when he followed up Max Meyer’s saved effort.

Ronaldo struck again from Fabio Coentrao’s cross on the stroke of halftime -- the Portugal captain’s 75th Champions League goal putting him level at the top of the all-time scoring chart with Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Both sides continued to attack at every opportunity in the second half and Benzema made it 3-2 in the 53rd minute before Sane curled a shot past Casillas in the 57th to equalise.

Dutchman Huntelaar set up a nervous finish when he smashed a brilliant effort into the net off the bar six minutes from time and Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes had one more chance to snatch the decisive goal but a relieved Real held out to claim a place in the draw for the last eight on March 20.

Porto thrash Basel to reach quarter-finals

Porto's Carlos Casemiro celebrates his goal against FC Basel on Tuesday

Porto's Carlos Casemiro celebrates his goal against FC Basel on Tuesday. Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

Four stunning strikes helped Porto reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a thumping and thoroughly deserved 4-0 win over a flat Basel side on Tuesday that gave them a 5-1 aggregate success.

The Portuguese side, who along with Chelsea are the only unbeaten teams in this season's competition, took the lead with an excellent first-half free kick from Yacine Brahimi, which set the tone for an evening of superb long-range efforts.

His opener was followed by equally impressive second-half strikes from Hector Herrera, Casemiro and Vincent Aboubakar with all four of the goals coming from outside the penalty area.

Porto were without their top scorer Jackson Martinez, but the Colombian's replacement, Cameroonian Aboubakar had an excellent game, causing Walter Samuel and Fabian Schaer in the Basel rearguard endless trouble.

Porto's Vincent Aboubakar strikes to score against FC Basel

Porto's Vincent Aboubakar strikes to score against FC Basel. Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

After a period of early pressure, Basel were pegged back and the opening goal of a frenetic first half came after just 14 minutes.

Casemiro made a clean tackle to win the ball in the attacking third, putting Cristian Tello through on goal. He was up-ended on the edge of the box by Samuel and from the resulting free kick,  Brahimi knocked an arching ball past Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik into the goal.

With Porto beginning to get up a head of steam, the match was broken up by a serious injury to the hosts' captain Danilo, who was flattened by his own keeper Fabiano, as the Brazilian came to head a long ball away.

He was substituted in the 22nd minute and taken to hospital where it was later confirmed that he had not suffered any serious injury.

Herrera made it 2-0 two minutes after the restart with a fine right-footed finish past Vaclik, as Porto took complete control of the tie.

Nine minutes later Casemiro scored what seemed to be the goal of the night with a stunning 35-metre free kick that left the keeper with no chance.

FC Basel's Behrang Safari (right) reacts at the end their Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Porto

FC Basel's Behrang Safari (right) reacts at the end their Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Porto. Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

Yet even better was to come as stand-in striker Aboubakar capped an amazing second half by running from midfield and rifling home another wonderful goal to leave Basel out for the count.

"We started the game at full tempo, knowing that we had to be 100 percent emotionally, 100 percent concentrated and 100 percent balanced," said Mexico's Herrera.

"We are not thinking of the quarter-finals. We are thinking about reaching the final itself."

On this showing, Porto will be a handful for any of the sides going into the draw and will hope to have Martinez back in the side, after he was ruled out with a groin injury.

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Source: REUTERS
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