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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 22 hours ago
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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 22 hours ago
Read
Apr 13, 2011

Real and Schalke go through

Tottenham made an admirable attempt to salvage their Champions League campaign on Wednesday, but Real Madrid secured a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane to triumph 5-0 on aggregate in order to set up a semi-final showdown with Barcelona.

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Spurs' European adventure has been filled with memorable chapters ever since they recovered from a 3-0 deficit against Young Boys in the qualifying stages, with victories against Inter Milan and AC Milan the highlights of a remarkable debut season. However, the 4-0 drubbing suffered in the first leg at the Bernabeu set up mission impossible, and Heurelho Gomes committed yet another inexplicable blunder to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to kill the tie off after 50 minutes.

Roman Pavlyuchenko led the line in the absence of the suspended Peter Crouch in North London, and Spurs quickly got the home crowd embroiled in a pulsating contest, twice sparking early penalty shouts. The first was a show of mere desperation from Gareth Bale, who went down extremely easily in an attempt to win a spot-kick from Xabi Alonso, but Luka Modric looked like he had a better claim moments later.

The best of the bunch was still to follow though as Pavlyuchenko went down under a clear trip from Raul Albiol, only for the referee to once again remain unmoved. Moments before that, Pavlyuchenko had nobody but himself to blame as he blazed a glorious chance over following a super cut-back from Aaron Lennon.

Spurs were certainly worthy of an opening goal, and they thought they had found one when Bale rifled home a volley, only to see the flag raised against Modric, who had provided the nod down. Nevertheless, Madrid were under sustained pressure and a rash challenge from Ricardo Carvalho earned a booking that rules him out of the first leg against Barcelona.

Spurs needed to maintain the same intensity in the second half, but Gomes had been the villain with a poor mistake for Madrid's fourth in the first leg, and he repeated the crime with a quite embarrassing piece of goalkeeping to silence White Hart Lane five minutes after half-time. Ronaldo tried his luck from 25 yards, and Gomes managed to spill a simple catch over his right shoulder in calamitous fashion.

Still Harry Redknapp's side had chances as Pavlyuchenko sent another glorious opportunity over, before substitute Jermain Defoe struck an upright as Spurs departed in respectable fashion.

Schalke will provide Manchester United's semi-final opposition after they beat Inter Milan 2-1 to advance 7-3 on aggregate. The Bundesliga club had taken a staggering 5-2 first-leg advantage from their away leg at the San Siro, and Inter never looked like staging a comeback in Gelsenkirchen.

Former Real Madrid striker Raul was the man to kill the tie on the stroke of half-time, producing a typically classy finish for his 71st Champions League goal. The former Spain forward latched onto a slide-rule pass before rounding Julio Cesar in trademark fashion to slot home with his right foot.

Inter rallied in the second period when Thiago Motta stabbed home at a corner five minutes after half-time, but Benedikt Howedes drove home late on to cement a meeting with United in front of the watching Sir Alex Ferguson.

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