Real, Schalke have it easy

Germans knock out champions Inter; Madrid to face Barcelona

Ecstatic:Schalke’s Benedikt Hoewedes (right) celebrates with team-mate Raul after scoring the winner against Inter. AFP

Another vintage performance from Real Madrid legend Raul sealed Schalke’s unexpected passage to the semifinals for the first time as Inter were eliminated 7-3 on aggregate.

The 33-year old Spanish striker scored one goal and set up another in a 2-1 second leg quarterfinal victory for the Bundesliga side who now face Manchester United in the last four. Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the softest goals of his career as Mourinho's team set up a titanic semifinal confrontation with arch-rivals Barcelona on April 27 and May 3.

Another vintage performance from Raul sealed Schalke unexpected passage to the semifinals for the first time as Inter were eliminated 7-3 on aggregate. Spurs ’keeper Heurelho Gomes allowed a long-range Ronaldo shot to bounce out of his hands in the 50th minute and failed to retrieve the ball as it bounced agonisingly over the line at White Hart Lane.

Real will now meet Barcelona four times in an epic 17-day spell, starting with Saturday's top of the table La Liga clash and next week's King's Cup final.

“The semifinal is a semifinal, anything can happen,” said Mourinho who lifted the Champions League trophy with Inter Milan last season and with Porto in 2004.

Real, 4-0 up from last week's first leg, were never in danger of suffering what would have been the biggest reversal since European club competition began in 1955 as they recorded their first away win in the knockout stages for nine years.

The closest Champions League debutants Spurs came to scoring was when Gareth Bale had a first-half goal ruled out because Luka Modric was offside. Spurs had three penalty appeals turned down as they continued to go forward, Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli waving away claims after Bale, Modric and Pavlyuchenko all went down under challenges.
Real, naturally enough, were content to sit back and only gave the home defence one moment of real concern in the first half when Ramos forced Gomes to make a fine save from a header and Emmanuel Adebayor lashed the follow-up wide. The second half lacked the intensity of the first after Ronaldo's goal as Real cruised into the last four, maintaining their challenge for a 10th European Cup title ahead of the final at Wembley Stadium on May 28.

No mistakes

Schalke, who crushed Inter 5-2 in Milan last week, dashed any lingering Italian hopes and secured their first last four appearance when Champions League record scorer Raul slotted in on the stroke of halftime for his 71st goal in Europe's top competition. Inter equalised early in the second half when Brazil-born Italy international Thiago Motta scrambled the ball over the line from close range. With United coach Alex Ferguson watching from the stands, Benedikt Hoewedes raced clear to fire Schalke's winner nine minutes from time.

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