By RYAN TOLMICH
Cristiano Ronaldo quieted any of the criticism stemming from his recent on and off-the-field controversies by finding the back of the net in Wednesday’s Champions League action.
Ronaldo scored his first goal in three games, leading Real Madrid to a 2-0 away victory over Schalke. The Portuguese star was joined on the scoresheet by Marcelo, whose second-half finish gave the Spanish giants a second crucial away goal.
Schalke stood toe-to-toe with the reigning Champions League winners until the 26th minute when Ronaldo struck on an open header following a cross from Dan Carvajal.
From that point forward, the Germans benefitted from the strong play of 19-year-old goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther, whose best save of the afternoon came in stopping a first-half free kick from Ronaldo.
Schalke nearly pulled level through another 19-year-old, substitute Felix Platte, who smashed a shot off the post in the 74th minute.
Marcelo added the insurance goal just five minutes later with a rocket to the far post, giving his side the 2-0 advantage heading back to the Estadio Bernebeu.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Porto came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Basel in a matchup that had its fair share of controversy.
Basel opened the scoring in the 11th minute through Derlis Gonzalez, who used a spectacular first touch to get around the Porto defense and finish one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Porto appeared to have leveled the scoreline through Casemeiro, whose shot found the back of the net only to see the referee rule offside due to interference with the goalkeeper.
The Portuguese side did get their equalizer from the penalty spot in the 79th minute, as fullback Danilo converted following a handball on Basel’s Walter Samuel.