Chelsea march into quarterfinals

Mourinho's men knock out Galatasaray; Ronaldo guides Real past Schalke
Last Updated 19 March 2014, 19:04 IST

Chelsea eased into the quarterfinals of the Champions League at the expense of Galatasaray on Tuesday, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid completed a comprehensive win against Schalke 04.

First-half goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory as they saw off their Turkish opponents 3-1 on aggregate to succeed where fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester City failed and make it into the last eight.

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid defeated Schalke 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to advance 9-2 on aggregate and extend their long unbeaten run to 31 games.

“Last season when Chelsea won the Europa League it was a different level,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.

“Now we are amongst the last eight in the Champions League, the best teams in the world. “That is important for the club. The players deserve to be there.”

The build-up to the game at Stamford Bridge had been dominated by the return of Didier Drogba to the ground where he is still hailed as a hero and the Ivorian -- scorer of the winning penalty when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in a shoot-out in the 2012 final -- was presented with a silver boot prior to kick-off.

Chelsea’s away-goal advantage from last month’s meeting in Istanbul meant they had no obligation to take the game to Roberto Mancini’s side, but they found themselves ahead on the night inside four minutes. Oscar’s pass in behind the visiting defence found Eto’o, and the Cameroonian beat the offside trap before sending in a low shot that was too powerful for goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. As Eto’o celebrated scoring the 30th Champions League goal of his career, Drogba and Galatasaray offered little by means of a response.

John Terry volleyed just over from a Frank Lampard free-kick before Jose Mourinho’s side increased their lead three minutes prior to the interval, Gary Cahill ramming home the rebound after Muslera had blocked Terry’s header at a corner. 

Mancini tinkered tactically at the interval, switching to a three-man defence, but 2012 European champions Chelsea never looked in danger as Drogba bowed out with a whimper.

In Spain, Ancelotti resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo despite Madrid leading 6-1 from the first leg in Germany and having a crucial league game against Barcelona to come at the weekend.

Gareth Bale was left on the bench at kick-off, but the Welshman came on inside eight minutes to replace Jese Rodriguez, who came off with a serious knee injury.

“I think it is confirmed he has ruptured cruciate ligament,” Ancelotti said.

“He has had bad luck and it is bad luck for Real Madrid because we are going to lose a very important, young player who has done very well this season and surprised everyone.”

Bale then set up Ronaldo to put the Spanish league leaders in front on the night midway through the first period, but Schalke gave their noisy travelling support something to celebrate by equalising on 31 minutes when Tim Hoogland’s speculative effort beat Iker Casillas with the aid of a huge deflection off Sergio Ramos.

Ronaldo fired home his second of the night and his 13th goal in seven Champions League matches this season, but he couldn’t complete his hat-trick.

Alvaro Morata completed the scoring with quarter of an hour remaining after a Ronaldo effort had come back off the bar, and the Ballon d’Or winner saw another attempt rebound off a post. Nevertheless, Ronaldo’s brace on the night was enough for him to equal the great Ferenc Puskas’s tally of 242 goals in a Madrid shirt.

(Published 19 March 2014, 19:04 IST)

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