PARIS, April 5, 2011 (AFP) - Real Madrid and Schalke moved to the brink of the Champions League semi-finals Tuesday after former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor netted a brace to stun Tottenham 4-0 while former Real legend Raul scored as Schalke stunned holders Inter Milan 5-2 in the San Siro.
Adebayor, on loan at Real from Manchester City, rose high after just four minutes to head home from a Mesut Ozil corner.
|AFP - Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates after scoring his second goal|
And he repeated the dose 12 minutes into the second half after a Marcelo cross from the left before Angel Di Maria finished the Londoners off in the 72nd minute with a superlative left-foot strike for a deserved win which saw Real barely miss injured French forward Karim Benzema.
"The way we played, we showed personality and we showed character," Adebayor said on Sky Sports Two. "I got two chances and I scored two goals. My record keeps improving against Tottenham."
Cristiano Ronaldo, risked despite his recent bout of hamstring trouble, completed the rout with a late volley which allows Real to start to dream of a tenth title but first since Zinedine Zidane delivered the trophy with a majestic winner in 2002.
Earlier in the season, in the group phase, Spurs conceded four goals in a half at Inter Milan before a Gareth Bale treble at least earned respect.
But they showed no such powers of recovery Tuesday and now have a huge mountain to climb in the return at White Hart Lane.
Harry Redknapp's men shot themselves in the foot when, having conceded the dreaded early goal, they then lost England striker Peter Crouch to a second yellow card wielded by German referee Felix Brych after only a quarter of an hour for going in late on Marcelo.
The thumping win had a satisfied Jose Mourinho applauding enthusiastically on the touchline as the Real coach, who saw his nine-year unbeaten league home record ended Saturday by Gijon, attempts to mastermind what would be a unique achievement - leading a third club to Champions League glory after Porto in 2004 and Inter last season.
With Real having all but conceded the league title to Barcelona there has been talk in the Spanish media of Mourinho still having to prove himself at Real.
The man himself was cautious after the win.
"We are almost there - but I know the English mentality very well. It's only over when it's over. We have to respect our rivals," Mourinho told French broadcaster Canal Plus. "But 4-0 is a great result."
As for the Italians, they proceeded to show precious little of the defensive discipline which had underpinned the Mourinho reign, falling apart after taking the lead with a spectacular goal from Dejan Stankovic after just 27 seconds.
Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer launched himself to head away a through-ball towards the halfway line, but Stankovic promptly volleyed over the prone shot-stopper's head and into the unguarded net from some 50 metres.
If the Germans looked stunned, they soon snapped out of it and soon it was the Italians' turn to be left in a trance as Joel Matip levelled in the 17th minute.
Keeper Julio Cesar saved a Kyriakos Papadopoulos header but Matip buried the rebound.
Inter emerged from their brief slumber on 34 minutes as Wesley Sneijder and Esteban Cambiasso combined to find Diego Milito, who volleyed in from five metres.
But again the hosts went to sleep as Brazilian Edu bundled in at the second time of asking five minutes before the interval after Cesar had saved his first attempt.
After the break Schalke suddenly switched through the gears with Raul, discarded by Real at the age of 33, making it 3-2 eight minutes after the restart with his 70th goal in the competition and record 72nd European goal in total.
Four minutes later, Inter were shell-shocked after Andrea Ranocchia, whom Raul had beaten to the punch for his goal, put through his own goal, deflecting a Jurado cross into the net.
Even worse for Inter, Cristian Chivu received his marching orders on 62 minutes for a second booking in quick succession -- adding to a weekend dismissal against AC Milan.
Schalke then rubbed more salt into their hosts' wounds when, after Jefferson Farfan's effort had seen Ranocchia deflect an effort onto the post, Edu strode back into the fray to elude his marker and fire home the Germans' fifth with 15 minutes remaining.
"In the first half, we were almost equals, but in the second-half Schalke reigned," said Raul.
"This is an important step, but nothing is definite. Inter are the champions and the return game is not to be taken lightly."