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Dublin: -1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo ends goal drought* as Real Madrid seize last 16 advantage

*It was three games, which is roughly ten for a normal footballer.

Ronaldo salutes travelling Real Madrid fans.
Ronaldo salutes travelling Real Madrid fans.
Image: Frank Augstein

REAL MADRID EQUALLED the longest winning run in UEFA Champions League history as they beat Schalke 2-0 in Wednesday’s last-16, first-leg clash in Gelsenkirchen.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 73rd goal in the competition set the defending champions on their way in the first half, before Marcelo sealed victory with a stunning 79th-minute strike into the top corner.

It was the 10th consecutive win in the tournament for the visitors, equalling a record set by Bayern Munich just two years ago.

Ronaldo’s perfectly placed header lit up a first half that was otherwise lacking in clear-cut chances, the Portugal international losing Joel Matip to score his 58th Champions League goal in as many games for Madrid.

Having scored six on the road against Schalke at the same stage last season, Real pushed for further goals in the second half, but their attacking play was largely devoid of the quality normally on show from the 10-times winners of Europe’s premier competition.

Roberto Di Matteo’s side had posed some threat in the final third in the first half and came closest to getting on the scoresheet in the 74th minute as Felix Platte crashed a volley against the crossbar.

The visitors raised their game after that scare and Marcelo ensured a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg in the Spanish capital on March 10 when he sent a right-footed effort arrowing into the top corner.

Derlis Gonzalez put the home side in front with ten minutes gone before Danilo equalised from the spot for the Portuguese side ten minutes from time.

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