Today was a lot more predictable than yesterday.
While both games included some great goals and some great action, neither provided major shocks. Real Madrid got past Schalke 2-0 while Basel and Porto got through on a 1-1 draw after the first leg.
Schalke and Real Madrid faced off for the second year in a row and while Schalke went down in defeat, they vastly improved compared to their 6-1 and 3-1 scorelines from last year. Schalke looked more complete and really had the chance to equalize with a great play in the 74th minute. Felix Platte struck the shot off the post and Schalke’s best chance for a goal fell awry. Real scored again with a goalazo from Marcelo and Real Madrid goes back to Spain with two away goals, a 10 game Champions League winning streak (ties record) and a very good chance to go to the Quarterfinals.
While they still lost, a couple Schalke players must be commended for their performances today. Platte was one, another is goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther. Both are 19 and they performed well against the defending Champions League winners. They are going to be two to watch for the future.
Basel and Porto was always going to be a close game. Basel is always a dangerous foe in Switzerland and they showed it today.
Early on, Basel took the lead in the 11th minute. Derlis Gonzalez, with the kind of first touch that’s unheard of, perfectly brought the ball down and made it 1-0 to the home team.
After Basel scored, Porto was really pushing. They kept getting the majority of the possession and the shots but just couldn’t equalize. After many chances, Porto’s persistence paid off. Walter Samuel got busted for a handball in the box and Porto got the goal off the PK thanks to Danilo. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and the second leg is wide open.
The Champions League will continue next week with the other eight teams. On Tuesday, Manchester City plays Barcelona and Juventus plays Borussia Dortmund. Wednesday, Bayer Leverkusen takes on Atletico Madrid and Arsene Wenger goes against his former team as Arsenal goes against Monaco. We will have coverage of the games next week as well as preview and analysis of some of the big matchups in the Europa League Round of 32 tomorrow.