Cyprus Mail
Champions League Sport

Holders Real squeak past Schalke into last eight with Porto

Holders Real Madrid survived a huge scare when they suffered a stunning 4-3 defeat at home to Schalke 04 on Tuesday but squeezed through to the Champions League quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate.

After Real comfortably won last month’s last 16, first leg in Gelsenkirchen 2-0, Schalke came out fighting at the Bernabeu and took a deserved lead in the 20th minute when a Christian Fuchs shot ricocheted into the net off keeper Iker Casillas.

Ronaldo levelled from a Toni Kroos corner five minutes later before former Real striker Klaas-Jan 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 Karim Benzema made it 3-2 in the 53rd minute before Schalke substitute Leroy Sane curled a shot past Casillas in the 57th to make it 3-3.

Huntelaar set up a nervous finish for the home fans when he smashed a brilliant effort in off the bar six minutes from time but Real held out to claim a place in the draw for the last eight on March 20.

In the night’s other match Porto reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a thumping and thoroughly deserved 4-0 win over a flat Basel side that gave them a 5-1 aggregate success.

The Portuguese side took the lead with an excellent first-half free kick from Yacine Brahimi, which set the tone for an evening of superb long-range strikes.

His effort was followed by equally impressive second-half efforts 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.

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