Global Sports : Real Scrape Through In Thriller

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Real Madrid reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League despite losing 4-3 to Schalke in a stunning match at the Bernabeu.
Christian Fuchs opened the scoring for the visitors before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled things four minutes later, then he equalised for a second time before the break after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had prodded Schalke back in front.
The Real Madrid forward’s second strike moved his European goals tally to 78 to surpass Raul’s all-time record.
Karim Benzema scored an excellent individual goal to put the hosts in front on the night, but they were soon pegged back as Leroy Sane fired in from outside the box and Schalke went back in front with a superb second from Huntelaar.
Sane and Benedikt Howedes both saw late chances saved by Iker Casillas as Roberto Di Matteo’s men searched for an all-important aggregate winner on away goals, but they couldn’t find a way through and the holders remain in the competition after winning 5-4 over the two legs.
The result will be a relief Carlo Ancelotti’s men but the manner of their performance will concern the Real coach more, while their run of 10 consecutive Champions League victories has come to an end, and the fans showed their dismay at the performance with a chorus of boos and whistles after the game.
Di Matteo said before the game he was looking for a competitive performance on the night, and his side looked the more threatening of the two early on, putting plenty of pressure on the Real defence.
On 20 minutes the Bundesliga side took a deserved lead as Tranquillo Barnetta fired the ball in from the right, and Huntelaar dummied for Fuchs, who drilled the ball at goal as Iker Casillas could only help it into the back of the net.
But Schalke’s lead would only last four minutes as under-par Madrid levelled from a corner, Ronaldo meeting Toni Kroos’ corner to power a header across goal and into the far corner.
The momentum looked to have swung back in the hosts’ favour, but Di Matteo’s men worked their way back in the game, and were soon back in front on the night.
Moments after hitting the frame of the goal with a stunning 25-yard volley, Huntelaar made it 2-1 to Schalke on 40 minutes as Barnetta’s cross found Max Meyer, whose low shot was parried into the Dutchman’s path and he blasted the rebound into the roof of the net.
But, again, the lead didn’t last long and Ronaldo grabbed his second in the last minute of the half, running on to Fabio Coentrao’s excellent cross before powering a header past Timon Wellenreuther, who missed the ball as he came off his line.
The goals didn’t stop in the second half, and seven minutes in the hosts were in front on the night for the first time. Coentrao was halted at the edge of the box but the ball rolled to Benzema, who ran across the area and took it past Wellenreuther before stroking it into the net for 3-2.
As seemed to be the case throughout the match, the other team soon replied and on 57 minutes it was 3-3 when Fuchs found Sane, who drilled a deflected effort across goal which left Casillas stranded and flew into the net.
Alvaro Arbeloa had a chance to put Real back in front after latching on to a good ball from Gareth Bale, but Wellenreuther was out quickly to close down the angle and block his effort.
Both Toni Kroos and then Bale had long-range efforts palmed away by the goalkeeper, while Isco curled a right-footed effort just wide of the post, but Schalke were back in front on 84 minutes thanks to Huntelaar’s second of the night.
The excellent Sane rolled the ball through for the striker, who knew exactly where the goal was and hammered a 25-yard effort in off the crossbar, giving Casillas no chance.
Sane and Howedes then both had late chances to win the tie for Schalke, the former seeing a long-range effort turned behind before the defender could only volley straight at the goalkeeper, but Real held on to make it through after an incredible night at the Bernabeu.

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