Yes, there was another Champions League game today. While AC Milan and Barcelona were doing their thing in Spain, Schalke 04 and Galatasaray were battling it out at the Veltins-Arena. With the score a 1-1 in the first leg, there was plenty to play for, and a tense game ended up at 3-2, leaving the visitors through to the quarterfinals.
The visitors began the game the stronger, and had what looked like a completely legitimate penalty shout waved off early on after Joel Matip gave the ball away, eventually forcing Saed Kolasinac into a desperate lunge on Burak Yilmaz. Timo Hildebrand was called into action through both Didier Drogba and Selcuk Inan, and it looked as though Schalke were settling in for a long siege.
And then Fernando Muslera got himself involved. Julian Draxler won a corner on the right, and although he was initially annoyed that the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play, the hosts would score from the set piece. Benedikt Höwedes got his head on the delivery, and although Muslera came out to save the ball was nicked out of his hands by Matip, allowing Roman Neustadter to blast home the rebound.
It was a goal against the run of play, and conceding left Galatasaray rocking. For twenty minutes that is -- that's when Hamit Altintop rocket of a shot got the visitors right back into the tie. With the ball rolled across to the midfielder on a free kick, he blasted a swerving drive that ran away from Hildebrand and bounced in off the post.
The Turks weren't done there, either. Just before the stroke of halftime, Albert Riera managed to fire a long ball in the vague direction of Yilmaz, who beat Matip with a flicked header before stealing in just ahead of Hildebrand, beating the goalkeeper with a cheeky chip to make it 2-1.
Schalke found themselves going from 2-1 up to behind on aggregate and away goals, and they also had to deal with yet more injuries. Neustadter was forced off with Christian Fuchs replacing him, but rather than letting their heads go down the changed seemed to invigorate the hosts.
Draxler in particular was superb, but the deserved equaliser didn't come from the youngster. Just seconds after Marco Hoger rattled Muslera's crossbar with a lovely effort, the goalkeeper found himself utterly stranded following a goalmouth scramble. Atsuto Uchida managed to sweep the ball across to Michel Bastos, and the Brazilian smashed home to give Schalke hope.
Muslera wasn't the only one feeling the pressure from Draxler -- the teenager managed to knock Semih Kaya out cold as he sprinted down the wing, catching the defender in the face with his boot. But unlike the unfortunate fullback, Galatasaray didn't give further ground, holding out superbly against the Schalke storm to keep the score at 2-2.
As the desperate hosts pushed for a vital third goal in stoppage time, they committed too many bodies forward and when Fuchs dropped a cross into Muslera's arms the goalkeeper launched a rapid counterattack, eventually leaving Umut Bulut to kill off Schalke's resistance with a tap-in and ensure that it would be Galatasaray who made it to the quarterfinals.