Talk about irony. In Champions League play today, the game everyone thought would be a close game wound up being a 4-0 Porto blowout of Basel. The game everyone thought was already over before it started resulted in Schalke stunning Real Madrid and came within a goal of eliminating the defending champions.
Schalke took it to Real Madrid and left it late. Schalke won the game 4-3 but lost in aggregate to Real Madrid 5-4. The loss snapped Real Madrid 10 game Champions League winning streak.
The action started off in the 20th minute. Schalke’s Christian Fuchs was able to score after Iker Casillas tried to save the shot to no avail.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored off the corner just five minutes later to equalize and maintain the two goal lead. With this goal, Ronaldo passed Lionel Messi and tied Raul for most Champions League goals.
Once again, poor goalkeeping by Casillas resulted in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to take the rebound and score with authority. Schalke took a 2-1 lead and equaled Real Madrid on away goals.
Again, five minutes later, Ronaldo scored again off of a header. This header was just pure brilliance. The run up to the ball as well as passing the defense resulted in a great goal for the new Champions League goalscoring leader.
Halftime rolled around and Real Madrid was tied 2-2 along with a 4-2 aggregate lead. With 45 minutes left, things were still heavily in Real Madrid’s favor.
Real Madrid finally took the lead 3-2 in the game thanks to Karim Benzema running all around Schalke’s goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther and their goalscorer Fuchs. Benzema had a few opportunities to shoot but decided to hold off until the right moment and he did by running side to side from one end of the goal to the other.
Even though everything looked even bleaker as Real was up 5-2 on aggregate, Schalke wasn’t about to give up. Leroy Sane decided to take advantage of a little bit of hesitation from Real’s Fabio Coentrao and make it 5-3 on aggregate in the 57th minute and earn the away goal tiebreaker.
Late in the game, in the 84th minute, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got around Pepe and the other Real defenders and cracked the ball off the crossbar and into the goal. 4-3 to Basel in the game and 5-4 Real Madrid on aggregate with another 10 minutes to play. Schalke actually got their shot to defeat and eliminate the defending champs.
Unfortunately for Schalke, although they had a few more chances, they couldn’t score another and fell just short of doing the impossible. Schalke won the game 4-3 but lost the series to Real Madrid 5-4 on aggregate. While Real Madrid escaped with a Quarterfinal berth, the fans didn’t care much for the play and there are rumors that manager Carlo Ancelotti is on the hot seat. Whoever gets drawn against Real in the Quarterfinals will probably have their best shot at beating the vulnerable champions.