Real Madrid survive huge Champions League scare

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Ronaldo's goals did not ease Real Madrid's nerves
Ronaldo's goals did not ease Real Madrid's nerves

REAL MADRID: 3 SCHALKE: 4 (Real Madrid win 5-4 on aggregate)

Schalke came within touching distance of one of the most sensational victories in the history of the Champions League - as Real Madrid's clung on by the tips of fingers on an extraordinary night at the Bernabeu.

Roberto Di Matteo's Schalke were just a solitary goal from turning around a 2-0 first leg deficit against a nervous and creaking Real Madrid side, who turned in an alarming performance in front of their home support.

Two first half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo - taking his tally in all European competitions to a record breaking 78 - should have settled the nerves of a home side reeling from a La Liga defeat against Athletic Bilabo on Saturday and two first half strikes of their own from Schalke, but it did anything but that.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar led the Schalke fightback and when he scored the German's fourth goal of the night six minutes from time, it seemed as if the impossible was about to happen to Carlo Ancelotti's side.

It needed a couple of late saves from Iker Casillas in the Real Madrid goal to deny Schalke, with the white hankies being waved at the final whistle by the home fans confirming their anger and despair.

This was a victory of the most bitter variety for Real Madrid and Ancelotti's mini-crisis is now developing into a fully blown nightmare.

"I'm very sorry, as everyone saw, we played very badly and that is bad for our image. All the criticism we get is justified," said an under-fire Ancelotti.

"We need to look at our defence, that's where all our errors were. No team has put 4 past us at home. We lacked organisation.

"We're professionals, we don't make ourselves look ridiculous. It's not easy to explain what's happened, we've lost confidence."

In the night's other Champions League last-16 tie, FC Porto thumped FC Basel 4-0 to secure a comfortable 5-1 aggregate victory.