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Real Madrid Take Step Towards Quarter Finals While Porto Get A Draw In Basel

cr7The European and World Club champions took a big step towards reaching the Champions League quarter finals as they beat Schalke 2-0 in Germany on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo ended a rare drought of three games by heading Real ahead in the first half before Marcelo made victory safe with a terrific long range effort in the 79th minute. Timon Wellenreuther, a 19-year-old goalkeeper pressed into action due to injuries, impressed but ultimately Roberto Di Matteo’s side could not deny Real a tenth successive win in the competition.

Former Real striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had the first serious effort on goal from distance but Iker Casillas saved well to his left. All Schalke’s good early work came undone though as Real grabbed the lead through Ronaldo after 26 minutes. The Ballon d’Or winner, who had shot wastefully wide from distance moments earlier, timed his run superbly to meet Dani Carvajal’s curling cross and head past Wellenreuther.

Real almost had a second soon after as Karim Benzema broke through but Wellenreuther just got enough on his shot. Then the Schalke goalkeeper did really well to save a 30-yard free-kick from Ronaldo as Real applied the pressure.

Real threatened again when Gareth Bale neatly combined with Isco outside the area but the Spaniard shot over. Schalke served the champions a warning after 74 minutes as substitute Platte struck the crossbar with a fierce effort. Atsuto Uchida was quick to the rebound but could not trouble Casillas.

That prompted Real to step up the tempo and they took a firm grip on the tie 11 minutes from time as Ronaldo cut in from the left and beat two defenders to find Marcelo on the edge of the area.

The Brazilian gave the Germans no chance as he took a touch and clipped a superb shot over Wellenreuther. The goal deflated Schalke, who then switched to damage-limitation mode for the remainder of the match. They had not been outplayed like last season but were still left facing a huge hurdle at the Bernabeu in the second leg.

Porto pick up late away goal
Danilo was on target with a second-half penalty as Porto struck back for a 1-1 draw against Basel in their last-16 first-leg Champions League clash in Switzerland.

Derlis Gonzalez had put the hosts in front early on, and despite having two goals disallowed, Porto kept pushing for an equalizer and their pressure paid off as Danilo made sure the Portuguese giants head into the second leg level.

The hosts took the lead with the first real chance of note after 11 minutes as Paraguay international Gonzalez slotted home his third goal in seven Champions League matches for the Swiss champions. The 20-year-old collected Fabian Frei’s pass just inside the Porto half from outside the 18-yard box and managed to keep his balance as he beat two defenders and fired the ball low, sliding underneath goalkeeper Fabiano to put Basle in front.

Porto’s Casemiro came close to netting an equaliser seven minutes later but the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder’s header from the edge of the six-yard box was safely collected by home stopper Tomas Vaclik.

The visitors had a half-chance to level on the hour mark as they started to apply the pressure but Jackson Martinez was thwarted by the home defence as he was floored in the box while referee Mark Clattenburg waved play-on, before Danilo sent the ball flying over the crossbar and into the stands.

The away side continued to push and Cristian Tello had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes before the break although the offside flag had already gone up. It looked as if Julen Lopetegui’s men had got onto the scoresheet two minutes into the second half as Tello’s corner found Maicon at the far post, whose header was punched out by Vaclik before the ball fell to the feet of Brazil midfielder Casemiro to volley home.

But seconds later the goal was disallowed after a brief exchange of words between Clattenburg and his assistant, and the English referee ruled the goal out after ruling the Porto players had impeded the goalkeeper.

Czech stopper Vaclik was forced to parry Tello’s close-range shot out for a corner as the game approached the hour mark, while – five minutes later – Martinez came close to netting a leveller with a great chance but he fired too high with his close-range effort and instead found the roof of the net.

With just over ten minutes remaining, Porto levelled through Danilo’s penalty after Walter Samuel went to ground in his own box and was unable to avoid handling the ball on the deck. Danilo made it look easy as he took the resulting spot-kick with a cool short run to fire into the bottom-left of the goal and beat the diving Vaclik as the visitors’ pressure finally paid off.