Clinical Porto Beat Basel But Real Madrid Survive Schalke Scare in UEFA Champions League Round-of 16-Second Leg

UEFA Champions LeagueTwo contrasting round-of-16 second leg matches were played on March 10, 2015 at Portugal and Spain leading to the emergence of the first two quarterfinalists in the UEFA Champions League. Playing at home, the Portuguese FC Porto scored a comprehensive 4-0 victory over FC Basel to reach the aggregates of 5-1 and advance to the quarterfinals. In the other match, however, Real Madrid survived by the skin of their teeth against a spirited challenge thrown at them by FC Schalke 04 at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. The home team lost 3-4 but still managed to make it to the round-of-8 as result of their first-leg score of 2-0 that gave them an aggregate score of 5-4. It wasn’t a worthy performance from the home side despite Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice in the match. On March 11, two more teams will go into the quarterfinals, when Chelsea hosts Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge in London after the 1-1 first leg result and Bayern Munich plays FC Shakhtar Donetsk at Munich after the goalless first leg. With no difference being made from first-leg games, all four sides will have equal pressure in their matches on Wednesday.

At Estadio do Dragao in Porto, four spectacular goals took FC Porto to the quarter-finals. The overjoyed home fans relished every minute of the stunning performance from FC Porto that completely overshadowed FC Basel 1893. In the 14th minute, Porto earned a free-kick and Yacine Brahimi scooped a brilliant ball that sailed over the Basel wall and completely foxed goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik. It was not the first time that Brahimi had scored from the free-kick. He also did the same, when Porto played against LOSC Lille in the play-offs and FC BATE Borisov at group stage. There were no further goals until halftime but when the teams resumed after the break, Hector Herrera made it 2-0 in the 47th minute, when he had a chance to bend a beauty from the edge of the box and Tomas Vaclik couldn’t react. Then the 56th minute saw the finest goal of the match, which was far better than any seen at Porto’s home turf. And it came from another free-kick that was taken by Casemiro. The Brazilian placed the ball 30 meters from the goal and struck it so cleanly that it sailed over the wall and entered the top corner like a rocket. But Porto continued with the attack despite already securing the 3-0 lead and their efforts paid off in the 76th minute, when Vincent Aboubakar came up with another magnificent goal for Porto. From just outside the goal area, Aboubakar charged inside with the ball at his feet and before anyone could blink, unleashed a forceful shot from about 20 metres that found the top corner. The 5-1 aggregate from the two legs took Porto into the quarterfinals.

In Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid CF narrowly squeezed themselves into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the fifth consecutive year, despite being beaten by the FC Schalke 04 brave-hearts. Schalke deserve all the credit for winning the match 4-3. But having lost the first leg 0-2, they had to bow out of the competition on aggregate score. In the 20th minute, Christian Fuchs opened the scoring for FC Schalke, when Max Meyer made a dangerous run, before finding Fuchs in a great position. Meyer cut the ball to Fuchs at the far post and the Schalke No23 smashed powerfully beyond Iker Casillas. Five minutes later, Cristiano equalized for Real Madrid by heading the ball past the Schalke goalkeeper. It was the goal number 74 for Ronaldo in the UEFA Champions League. In the 40th minute, Schalke went into the lead for the second time in the match, when Huntelaar picked up a block by Casillas’ of a Max Mayer strike. Huntelaar shot into the goal from too close for Casillas to react quickly. To Schalke’s utter dismay, Ronaldo produced the second equalizer by another header in the 45th minute. Real went into the lead for the first time in the 53rd minute through Karim Benzema, who moved calmly inside the box, dodged a couple of defenders and neatly sent the ball crashing into the net. But Schalke were not finished yet. They found the equalizer in the 57th minute, when substitute Sane curled a left-footer from the edge of the box to leave Casillas stranded. With six minutes left in the match, Dutchman Huntelaar went into the goal area, avoided a defender and shot past Casillas to find the underside of the crossbar. Schalke completed the 4-3 victory and yet they missed their entry in the quarterfinals.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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