Ronaldo leads the way as Real topples Schalke

Gelsenkirchen, Germany ( - Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal and assisted on another as Real Madrid secured a 2-0 first-leg win in its Champions League knockout round match at Schalke on Wednesday.

Madrid entered the fixture as heavy favorites to reach the quarterfinals, and Wednesday's result puts them well on their way as Ronaldo headed his team in front in the 26th minute before setting up a fine strike from Marcelo 11 minutes from time.

Carlo Ancelotti's team now returns home for the second leg on March 10 with a comfortable lead and should have little trouble advancing to the last eight against a Schalke side that put up a strong effort on Wednesday.

Former Madrid forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar had the first chance in the 25th minute when he tested goalkeeper Iker Casillas with a 20-yard effort that forced the netminder to make a save at full stretch.

But just one minute later Madrid took the lead through Ronaldo as he made a well-timed run to the front of goal and sent a glancing header past goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther from a Daniel Carvajal cross.

Wellenreuther did well to keep out a low shot from Karim Benzema after he was released in behind the Schalke defense by Toni Kroos, and he came up big once again in the 35th to tip a free kick from Ronaldo onto the crossbar.

Isco squandered a good chance to double the lead in the 72nd when he played a one-two with Gareth Bale and fired a shot over the net from inside the box, while Schalke came within inches of equalizing a few minutes later.

A long ball was knocked down inside the box by Atsuto Uchida, setting up a first-time shot for substitute Felix Platte that hammered the crossbar.

The visitors extended their lead in the 79th following a nice individual effort from Ronaldo, who split two defenders on the left wing and fed a pass to Marcelo inside the area. The Brazilian took a touch and lashed a shot into the upper right corner to put the result the away.

Wednesday's other match saw FC Porto and FC Basel battle to a 1-1 draw as Porto's Danilo converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute to cancel out an 11th-minute strike from Basel's Derlis Gonzalez.