Spot-on Schalke ruin Porto dreams

FC Porto 1-0 FC Schalke 04 (agg: 1-1, Schalke win 4-1 on pens) Manuel Neuer was the hero, capping an outstanding performance with two fine penalty saves.

Manuel Neuer (centre) is hugged after his saves helped Schalke overcome Porto
Manuel Neuer (centre) is hugged after his saves helped Schalke overcome Porto ©Getty Images

Penalty drama
Neuer kept out spot-kicks from Bruno Alves and Lisandro López, allowing Jermaine Jones to seal a 4-1 shoot-out victory as Schalke reached the last eight for the first time. It had looked like a series of fine Neuer stops would be enough for the German team in regulation time, before López scored on 86 minutes to cancel out their first-leg lead, despite Porto having been reduced to ten men moments earlier when Fucile was dismissed. Neuer performed more heroics in the additional half-hour, brilliantly denying Ricardo Quaresma when the winger was clean through, and he conjured even more magic in the subsequent shoot-out.

Porto purpose
Neuer had been busy from kick-off as Porto began brightly, although the No1 himself started shakily, spilling a second-minute shot from Bosingwa as Schalke's defence, so formidable in the first leg, struggled to settle. The goalkeeper did not wait long to redeem himself, however, first blocking López's 12th-minute strike with his legs then reacting well to stop Tarik Sektioui's header. It was all the Portuguese side, with Lucho González leading the charge – Porto's inspirational captain firing a long-range effort just wide as Schalke laboured. On 26 minutes Mirko Slomka's men had their first sight of goal, but Marcelo Bordon dragged a hopeful attempt harmlessly wide. Heiko Westermann fared better soon after, forcing Porto keeper Helton into action though his strike also passed the wrong side of the post.

Wasted opportunity
Little by little, Schalke were growing in stature, retaining possession, getting numbers behind the ball and frustrating Jesualdo Ferreira's Liga leaders. With half-time approaching Neuer was once again unconvincing as he parried Quaresma's drive, yet the best chance of the opening period fell to Kevin Kuranyi who was unable to head with the same accuracy with which Levan Kobiashvili's free-kick had found him in space, eight metres out.

Miracle save
Schalke were proving a tougher nut to crack than compatriots Hamburger SV, thrashed 4-1 here in last season's group stage, though they almost conceded eight minutes after the restart when López just failed to steer his header on target after beating Neuer to Raul Meireles's corner. It was a near miss and the hosts came even closer minutes later – Lucho nodded Quaresma's chipped free-kick on to the unmarked Sektioui, only for Neuer to make an astonishing save, keeping out the Moroccan international's header with his left boot.

Goalkeeper nerves
Both keepers seemed unsteady. Neuer was fortunate to see the ball trickle past the post after his clearance had cannoned back off the onrushing Mariano González. Helton was similarly fortunate, somehow blocking Kuranyi's shot outside his area following a defensive mix-up. Porto hopes appeared over eight minutes from time when Fucile was red-carded after a late challenge on Kobiashvili, yet López had not read the script. Four minutes later he received the ball from Lucho with back to goal, turned and rifled high into the net via the underside of the crossbar to send the Dragão wild. It took Neuer to silence it.