Marcelo rocket puts champions Real Madrid in control against Schalke

Ronaldo also on the mark for Spanish side; late Danilo penalty earns Porto draw at Basel

Schalke 0 Real Madrid 2

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo ended a three-game goal drought as the holders beat Schalke 2-0 on Wednesday to take a big step towards the Champions League quarter-finals.

The world player of the year headed in after 26 minutes for his 73rd Champions League goal with Real’s first chance of the game and he set up Marcelo to fire home a stunning right-footed shot to make it seven wins for Real in seven Champions League games this season.

Real’s victory was nowhere near as emphatic as last season’s 6-1 romp at Schalke at the same stage of the competition but it was a much-needed confidence boost for Carlo Ancelotti’s team after a lacklustre start to the year in Spain.

Looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League title, Real, eliminated from the King’s Cup this month and crushed 4-0 by Atletico Madrid in La Liga, host Schalke in the second leg on March 10th.

The Germans fielded five defenders and were on the back foot from the start but coach Robert Di Matteo’s disciplined 5-3-2 system proved effective.

First to the ball and working hard, Schalke gradually grew in confidence and a good effort from Dennis Aogo sailed just wide before a shot by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar required a full- stretch save from Iker Casillas.

But Ronaldo, left with far too much space in the box, put Real ahead, ending his mini lean spell with a glancing header from Daniel Carvajal's cross to take his competition tally to 73, two short of the record held by Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Karim Benzema almost got a second but reserve goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther, making his competition debut, kept his cool to clear the ball.

The 19-year-old got the nod due to injuries to Fabian Giefer and Ralf Faehrmann and he did well to deny Ronaldo his second goal, parrying a curling free kick in the 34th.

Schalke’s game plan collapsed when Huntelaar, back in action despite serving a suspension in the Bundesliga for a red card, limped off with a leg injury.

But Real, who took their foot off the gas after the break, were almost punished by 19-year-old Felix Platte who replaced Huntelaar and struck a shot against the crossbar 15 minutes from time.

Brazilian Marcelo ended any lingering German hopes with a powerful shot 11 minutes from the end after good work from Ronaldo.

Basel 1 Porto 1

Porto hit back with a late Danilo penalty to hold FC Basel to a draw at St Jakob Park in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie on Wednesday which featured a goal controversially disallowed after a long delay and consultation.

Derlis Gonzalez gave the Swiss champions an 11th-minute lead but Danilo replied in the 79th minute, calmly scoring following a handball by veteran Argentine defender Walter Samuel.

But the game’s talking point was the disallowed Porto goal in the 48th minute.

The visitors had finished celebrating and were back on the halfway line when referee Mark Clattenburg, after a long consultation with his linesman, disallowed Casemiro's goal for offside.

Basel, who qualified for the last 16 at the expense of Liverpool, scored with the first chance of the game in the 11th minute.

Fabian Frei chipped a perfectly weighted ball over the Porto defence and found Gonzalez who held off his marker and prodded the ball past Porto goalkeeper Fabiano.

But Basel lost their bite after the Paraguayan went off injured in the 25th minute.

Porto took their time to get going but began stringing some moves together and although the did not seriously test Tomas Vaclik before half-time, it was a different story after the break as they controlled the game.