Tottenham fumble seals Real victory

Real Madrid head to Champions League semi-final with 1-0 victory, while Shalke score 2-1 second leg win over Inter.

    Real are maintaining their challenge for a 10th European Cup title ahead of the finals [AFP]

    Real Madrid set up a titanic Champions League semi-final with arch-rivals Barcelona by beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday to complete a 5-0 aggregate victory.

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the softest goals of his career when Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes allowed a long-range shot to bounce out of his hands in the 50th minute and failed to retrieve the ball as it bounced agonisingly over the line.

    Real, 4-0 up from last week's first leg, were never in danger of suffering what would have been the biggest reversal since European club competition began in 1955 but needed to concentrate fully to keep a lively Spurs team at bay.

    The closest Champions League debutants Spurs came to scoring was when Gareth Bale had a first-half goal ruled out because Luka Modric was offside.

    "It will be a very intense semi-final," Real midfielder Xabi Alonso told Spanish television.

    "We know each other very well, everyone has been talking about it and now it is a fact. Bring it on."

    Penalty appeals

    Spurs set about their virtually impossible task with Bale and Aaron Lennon outpacing Alvaro Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos at will on the flanks before whipping in balls that put Real under pressure.

    One run by Bale, when he blazed past Ramos, brought an astonished look to the face of Real coach Jose Mourinho, but it was Lennon who created a good chance after 27 minutes.

    Lennon left Arbeloa in his wake again only for Roman Pavlyuchenko to blast the ball into the upper tier of the

    Spurs also had three penalty appeals turned down as they continued to go forward, Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli waving away claims after Bale, Modric and Pavlyuchenko all went downunder challenges.

    Real, naturally enough, were content to sit back and only gave the home defence one moment of real concern in the first half when Ramos forced Gomes to make a fine save from a header and Emmanuel Adebayor lashed the follow-up wide.

    The second half lacked the intensity of the first after Ronaldo's goal as Real cruised into the last four, maintaining their challenge for a 10th European Cup title ahead of the final at Wembley Stadium on May 28.

    Schalke dispatch Inter

    Schalke 04, meanwhile, completed a stunning elimination of Champions League holders Inter Milan with a 2-1 second leg win and 7-3 aggregate victory to set up a semi-final with Manchester United.

    Schalke, who crushed Inter 5-2 in Milan last week, dashed any lingering Italian hopes and secured their first last four appearance when Champions League record scorer Raul slotted in on the stroke of halftime for his 71st goal in Europe's top competition.

    Inter equalised early in the second half when Brazil-born Italy international Thiago Motta scrambled the ball over the line from close range.

    With United coach Alex Ferguson watching from the stands, Benedikt Hoewedes raced clear to fire Schalke's winner nine minutes from time.

    It was Schalke's fourth successive win since Ralf Rangnick took over as coach last month after the Bundesliga club parted ways with Felix Magath.

    Inter needed a fast start but their early offensive moves were stifled by Schalke who pressed deep and forced Leonardo's side to chase after the ball.

    The home side were content to wait for the quick breaks and Raul went close with a header after a quarter of an hour.

    Inter responded with a fine Dejan Stankovic long-range effort that keeper Manuel Neuer palmed wide before Raul stunned the visitors in the 45th minute after rounding keeper Julio Cesar.

    Thiago Motta levelled four minutes after the restart from a Wesley Sneijder corner but defender Hoewedes finished the Inter off with a crisp low shot in the 81st minute.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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