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Madrid seize control of Schalke tie

FC Schalke 04 0-2 Real Madrid CF
Carlo Ancelotti's side made it seven wins from seven in this season's competition thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo.

Highlights: Schalke v Real Madrid

Madrid make it seven wins in this season's competition at Schalke's expense
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (26) and Marcelo (79)
Madrid equal record for successive UEFA Champions League victories with ten
Schalke substitute Felix Platte thunders shot against crossbar
Second leg on 10 March at the Santiago Bernabéu

For the second year in a row, Real Madrid CF took a firm grip on their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against FC Schalke 04 with a first-leg victory in Germany.

Although a repeat of Madrid's 9-2 aggregate success at the same stage in 2013/14 never looked likely, the visitors gained a valuable edge thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half header. Schalke denied them further openings and occasionally menaced themselves, until Marcelo added a crucial late second to leave the holders well placed to reach a fifth consecutive quarter-final.

Beaten 6-1 in the first leg last term, Schalke started positively and created the first real chance, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – who mustered their sole response 12 months ago – drawing a save from Iker Casillas with a fierce drive. That was in the 25th minute; 60 seconds later, Madrid were in front.

Ronaldo had scored twice in Madrid's 2014 Gelsenkirchen glut yet was without a goal since 18 January. Dani Carvajal's curling cross gave him the opportunity to break that mini-drought; the Portuguese duly nodded in ahead of Timon Wellenreuther.

The 19-year-old home goalkeeper was making just his fourth first-team appearance and the Schalke faithful soon had cause to be grateful to the teenager. First Wellenreuther blocked Karim Benzema's strike after the Madrid No9 had sprung the offside trap; then he palmed away Ronaldo's fierce free-kick.

Schalke's threat was undermined when Huntelaar limped off 12 minutes before the interval, and the home side continued to struggle to find a way through the Merengues' defence. By the hour they still had just the departed Dutchman's shot as their sole effort on target, before Kevin-Prince Boateng warmed Casillas's palms from range. At the other end Isco exchanged passes with Gareth Bale only to whip his attempt too high.

That seemed to galvanise the home fans, who raised the volume, and their players responded. Atsuto Uchida laid the ball back for Felix Platte to unleash a thunderous strike that left the crossbar shaking; the prone Casillas needed a kind deflection to gather Uchida's follow-up.

Schalke's momentum was punctured with 11 minutes to go, however, as Madrid sliced through again. Ronaldo did the legwork down the left, flicking inside for Marcelo; the full-back curled high beyond Wellenreuther with his right foot, leaving Madrid looking comfortable ahead of the return leg in Spain.

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