Real Madrid sealed their place in the last eight of the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Schalke in the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu giving them a 9-1 win on aggregate.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored in both halves, either side of a deflected strike by Tim Hoogland that gave Schalke a rare moment to savor across the two legs. Alvaro Morata made it 3-1 and, in truth, there could easily have been a repeat of the scoreline in Gelsenkirchen three weeks ago, with several other chances going begging for the hosts. The only sour note for Carlo Ancelotti’s side ahead of the Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday was a serious-looking injury to Jese Rodriguez.
The young forward, in the side as Ancelotti made several changes with the weekend in mind, went down inside the first two minutes. While he initially got back to his feet, the man who has made such a big impact in this his breakthrough season, was clearly unable to continue.
There was at least some consolation on the night, with Gareth Bale coming on and playing a key role in Madrid extending their lead in the tie even further. After a strong run, Morata slipped the ball through to Bale down the right and the Welshman crossed it low for Ronaldo to apply the simplest of finishes in the middle.
Following his contribution to the goal, Morata then had a glorious chance to build some confidence in front of goal and hit the net for the first time in two months. But, from another low Bale cross, the 21-year-old scuffed his shot woefully wide with the goal at his mercy.
And Schalke took advantage of their reprieve by pulling level on the night in the 31st minute. Hoogland was allowed to stroll forward as space opened up through the middle and his shot from 25 yards got the benefit of a sizable deflection off the outstretched boot of Sergio Ramos to take it into the corner past Iker Casillas. The visitors could have even reduced their deficit further before half time, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar slid a shot wide after a clever pass from Max Meyer.
The second half, though, was largely one-way traffic. Ralf Fahrmann somehow helped Ronaldo’s downward header over the bar, but Madrid would go back in front with 16 minutes remaining. Kyriakos Papadopoulos was able to take the ball away from the fast-breaking Bale, but it fell straight to Ronaldo, who, with Joel Matip continuing to back off, struck a low shot past Fahrmann at his near post.
And Bale and Ronaldo played a big part in Madrid’s third goal on the night just a minute later. After Morata’s effort was saved, Ronaldo’s shot from the angle came down off the crossbar before Bale showed good composure to square for Morata to this time finish coolly past the bodies on the line.
Bale spurned a chance to make the scoreline more emphatic while Ronaldo struck a post late on, but by that point thoughts had already long-since turned to Barcelona.