Merciless Real Madrid pounced on a glut of Schalke 04 mistakes as they romped to another 6-1 away win in the Champions League on Wednesday, their second of the season, leaving the ragged Bundesliga side shattered and embarrassed.
The round-of-16 first-leg bore more resemblance to a playground kickabout than Europe’s top club competition as Schalke kept giving the ball away to Real, who simply ran down the other end of the pitch and scored.
Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice each and Real could quite easily have added to their tally against opponents who started promisingly but completely lost their composure after conceding two goals in a disastrous eight-minute first-half spell.
Incredibly, the home fans kept singing until the end and were rewarded when Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar volleyed in from the edge of the area for a stoppage-time consolation.
The result, Schalke’s heaviest defeat in European football. Real took their tally in the competition to 26 goals in seven games, 11 of them from Ronaldo.
“We made too many simple mistakes,” shattered Schalke coach Jens Keller told ZDF television, his tie undone and his hair flopping to one side.
“I’m satisfied with everything because that was the perfect game,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
It started promisingly for the hosts when Benedikt Hoewedes headed wide from close range in the first minute. But Real were in front after 13 minutes when Bale was allowed to run unimpeded to the edge of the penalty area where he found Ronaldo, whose backheel slipped through Felipe Santana’s legs and fell for Benzema to fire past Ralf Faehrmann.
Schalke’s Julian Draxler was denied at point blank-range by Iker Casillas one minute later and Schalke’s hopes were effectively killed off with another Santana mishap. The Brazilian lost possession near the touchline to Benzema who flicked the ball to Bale and the Welshman dribbled cleverly between two defenders to score the second in the 21st minute.
Ronaldo, already impatient to get on the scoresheet himself, hit inside of the post and saw another shot blocked by Faehrmann’s outstretched leg as Real began to run riot. He then fired a free kick into the Schalke wall and did exactly the same on the rebound.
Ronaldo finally got on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute when he was left one-on-one with Joel Matip, performed some trademark stepovers and then flew past the defender before firing past Faehrmann.
Five minutes later, a Schalke cross into the visitors’ penalty area was cleared and Real were again allowed to pass their way upfield without any resistance. The move ended with another goal as Benzema found Ronaldo who flicked the ball back to the Frenchman to chip past Faehrmann.
Sergio Ramos sent Bale away for the fifth with 21 minutes still to pay after Schalke lost possession in midfield again. They still failed to learn and in the 89th minute, Roman Neustaedter lost the ball in his own half and Benzema quickly set up Ronaldo, who held off Matip and rounded Faehrmann for the sixth.
ALL TO PLAY FOR
Istanbul: Chelsea kept Didier Drogba well-shackled in his first game against the team he helped to win the Champions League but Aurelien Chedjou’s second-half goal earned Galatasaray a 1-1 draw in their last-16 first leg on Wednesday.
The Cameroon defender took advantage of sloppy marking to find space in the box and steer home Wesley Sneijder’s inswinging corner on 65 minutes to leave the tie evenly poised.
Fernando Torres had silenced a raucous home crowd when he fired Chelsea into a ninth-minute lead but the Premier League leaders could not press home their first-half dominance and the Turkish side improved markedly after the break.
Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini, who won the Premier League in 2012 with Manchester City, said his side had deserved at least a draw.
“Maybe in the first half we were too deep, we played with fear probably,” the Italian told reporters. “In the second half we probably deserved to score another goal because we played very well.”
His opposite number Jose Mourinho was also satisfied.
“In the second half they put pressure on us, they had attacking full-backs and powerful strikers. It’s better to be 1-1 than 0-0,” the Portuguese said.
Drogba, Chelsea’s record European scorer with 34 goals in 69 games, was kept quiet in his first game against his former side since scoring the winning penalty when the Londoners lifted the Champions League trophy in May 2012.
Closely watched by Gary Cahill and John Terry throughout, Drogba headed a free kick down towards the far post but Selcuk Inan was guilty of a bad miss from close range as he could only steer his effort against the outside of the post.
Having enjoyed the letoff, Chelsea fell asleep a minute later at a corner when no one picked up Chedjou and the defender gleefully equalised from six metres out. Chelsea, always dangerous on the counter, had controlled the opening 45 minutes but just had Torres’s early goal as reward.
Andre Schuerrle set the overlapping Cezar Azpilicueta free on the left flank and his low cross was met by the Spaniard to fire low into an unguarded net.
The hosts countered with Izet Hajrovic blazing over Sneijder’s cutback and from another rapid Chelsea break, Ramires, with his bloodied nose plastered from an earlier aerial challenge, fired a Schuerrle cross high and wide.
Torres was denied a second by a sprawling save from Fernando Muslera soon after the restart but the game then went through a scrappy period, punctuated by a flurry of yellow cards shown by Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo.
With their tails up following Chedjou’s equaliser, Galatasaray pressed forward and Alex Telles forced Petr Cech to turn over his stinging drive but the Premier League club stood firm.
For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App nowFirst Published on: February 28, 2014 3:14 am