Roma send Real crashing out

Roma continue Real Madrid's woeful run, while Chelsea and Schalke advance.

    Happy tourists: Roma players celebrate after conquering Real Madrid [AFP]

    A ruthless AS Roma snatched a 2-1 win over 10-man Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on to clinch their place in the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals 4-2 on aggregate.

    Real took the initiative for most of the game, but suffered a major setback when Portugal centre-back Pepe was sent off for picking up a second booking 19 minutes from time.

    They were still reeling from the blow when Brazilian midfielder Taddei found space in the Real defence to head the visitors in front.

    Real hit back two minutes later when skipper Raul steered in after some neat work by Robinho but Roma put them to the sword when substitute Mirko Vucinic scored with a diving header just before the final whistle.

    "I expected a tough game, but my team came here to get a result and they responded perfectly," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said.

    "We suffered at times, but we deserved to go through. We didn't steal this tie from Real. I think both sides played well and that makes the win here at this ground even more special."

    Having lost 2-1 in the first leg in Rome, Real pushed hard for an early goal, but a cagey Roma side appeared content to sit back and soak up the pressure.

    Roma keeper Doni was not pressed into action until the 17th minute when he did well to deal with a deflected Julio Baptista free kick, but the Italians responded with two great shots that gave the Bernabeu a warning of what was to come.

    Midfielder Alberto Aquilani sent a rasping drive slamming on to the bar from 20 metres out and Taddei followed up with another fierce shot that had Iker Casillas scrambling to turn past the post.

    Frustration grows

    Without the injured Ruud van Nistelrooy, Real lacked bite up front and grew increasingly frustrated as they got no change from the miserly Roma back four.

    Roma, in contrast, looked more and more confident as they clipped the ball neatly around the midfield and broke quickly into attack.

    Real threatened once more at the start of the second half, Baptista smacking a dipping free kick against the bar and Mahamadou Diarra testing Doni with a powerful drive.

    But once again it was Roma who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Vucinic rattled the bar with a thundering drive less than a minute after coming on.

    Real began to lose their cool when Pepe was sent off after picking up a second booking for a foul on Vucinic and Taddei took advantage of the confusion in defence to head home two minutes later.

    Raul hit back almost immediately, sweeping low past Doni after a neat through pass from Robinho but Roma dealt the definitive blow when Vucinic threw himself at a Christian Panucci free kick and headed in past Casillas.

    "Given the difficulty of the opponents I couldn't have asked for more from the team," said Real coach Bernd Schuster.

    "They had to play with a man down. They showed great character and kept believing they could win this game."

    Salomon Kalou, left, rounds out the scoring
    for Chelsea [AFP]
    Blues cruise

    Chelsea romped into the quarter-finals with a 3-0 demolition of Olympiakos Piraeus at Stamford Bridge.

    After a tepid goalless draw in the first leg in Athens two weeks ago, the Londoners went ahead in the fifth minute when Michael Ballack headed in a Frank Lampard cross and from then on the outcome was never in doubt.

    Further goals by Lampard after 25 minutes and Salomon Kalou in the 48th made the second half a stroll for Chelsea who dominated the Greek champions throughout to record their sixth clean sheet in a row in the competition.

    Olympiakos did not have a shot on target until the 61st minute when substitute Fernando Belluschi fired a free kick at goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, deputising for Petr Cech who injured his ankle in training on Tuesday and faces up to three weeks on the sidelines.

    That was one of the few things to worry Avram Grant's side on a night when they joined English rivals Manchester United and Arsenal in the last eight.

    Grant told a news conference: "We held the ball well, we were patient and quick when we needed to be. I was happy because we played some clever football."

    'A big difference'

    Olympiakos manager Panagiotis Lemonis said: "There are some very big differences between Chelsea and us. We are thinking of this year as a start to try and get closer to these very strong teams.

    "I said yesterday the first 20 minutes would be very important, and that's how it turned out with their two early goals."

    Ballack opened the scoring when Olympiakos left him with time and space to powerfully head past goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis.

    Olympiakos, who were unbeaten in their four previous Champions League games, had lost by at least two goals on each of their seven previous visits to England, scoring only once and conceding 24.

    That awful record was sure to be maintained after Lampard doubled Chelsea's lead.

    Olympiakos failed to clear a cross and the ball eventually came back to Ballack whose shot rebounded back off Nikopolidis for Lampard to make no mistake from two metres.

    Chelsea sealed victory when woeful Olympiakos defending from a Lampard corner allowed Kalou to pick his spot for the third goal.

    Schalke's Rafinha savours the moment [AFP]
    Schalke to make maiden voyage into last eight

    Finally, Schalke beat 10-man Porto 4-1 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals for the first time after drawing 1-1 on aggregate.

    An 86th minute Lisandro Lopez strike cancelled out Kevin Kuranyi's first-leg goal while the Germans had young goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to thank for knocking out the former champions.

    The 21-year-old saved two spot kicks in the shootout after making a series of impressive stops during the match, including twice keeping out point blank headers from Porto's Moroccan forward Tarik Sektioui either side of halftime.

    The home side, who were lucky not to have goalkeeper Helton sent off when he handled a goalbound effort outside his area in the second half, were reduced to 10 men when defender Fucile was shown a straight red card for an 82nd minute foul.


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