Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and one from Alvaro Morata ensured that Real Madrid eased into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win.
With Los Blancos having won the first leg 6-1, the home side were virtually guaranteed to go through to the last eight – as such, Carlo Ancelotti rung the changes with Jese and Alvaro Morata coming in up front, whilst Asier Illarramendi, Fabio Coentrao and Nacho Fernandez all started.
And despite fielding a number of supposed reserve players, it was the hosts who got off to the brighter start, keeping the ball with ease, trying to find space behind the German side’s defence.
Possession wasn’t a problem for the Merengues, but creating chance, seemingly, was. The Bundesliga outfit were holding firm at the back, and actually had the first opportunity themselves – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s shot though, went straight into the arms of Iker Casillas.
It took until 15 minutes for the Santiago Bernabeu side to force an effort on goal, but Sergio Ramos’s header from Xabi Alonso’s free kick was well over the bar.
Madrid continued to have a monopoly on the ball, but with such a big lead from the first encounter, it was clear that the intensity was slightly lower ahead of the upcoming Clasico against Barcelona.
However, on 22 minutes, the match came alive as Gareth Bale broke down the right, crossed for Ronaldo, who tapped in from close-range for the opening goal.
And the Wales international was at it again soon after, racing down the right-hand side to set up Alvaro Morata. The young forward however, couldn’t recreate what the Ballon d’Or winner had done previously, and shanked the ball wide of the post.
That miss would prove costly soon after the half hour mark, as Hoogland cantered forward up to the Blancos area, took a speculative shot that deflected widely off Sergio Ramos, and watched as the ball wrong-footed Casillas, trickling into the back of the net.
After the break, it was the home side again who were creating most the goalmouth action. And they perhaps should have gone ahead on the night on 50 minutes, but Ronaldo’s downward header was saved acrobatically by Ralf Fahrmann.
The Liga leaders were clearly in third gear, but kept knocking on the Schalke door – this time it was Isco who could have added a second. Once again though, the goalkeeper was equal to the effort.
That profligacy didn’t matter however, as on 74 minutes Ronaldo broke from deep, before powering past one defender and smashing a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
The floodgates soon opened, because just a minute later a swift passage of play saw Morata have a shot saved, Ronaldo then saw an effort cannon off the bar, before Morata tapped in the rebound for his deserved goal.
Real Madrid 3-1 Schalke
Scorers: Ronaldo 22, 74 (RM), Morata 75 (RM); Hoogland 31 (S)
Real Madrid: Iker; Nacho, Ramos (Carvajal 69), Varane, Coentrão; Xabi (Casemiro 46), Illarra, Isco; Jesé (Bale 8), Morata, Ronaldo
Schalke: Fährmann; Hoogland, Höwedes (Papadupoulos 57), Matip, Kolasinac; Ayhan (Annan 81), Neustädter; Obasi, Draxler, Meyer; Huntelaar (Szalai 46)
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