Cahill on mend after knee op
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 22:57:00
Cristiano Ronaldo admitted Real Madrid only had themselves to blame after surviving a second-half scare against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League.
Already leading 3-0 from last week's first leg, Ronaldo's eighth-minute strike looked to have Jose Mourinho's men comfortably through to the semi-finals.
But three goals in 15 second-half minutes from Emmanuel Eboue, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba set up a tense finale.
Real substitute Alvaro Arbeloa saw red for two bookings before Ronaldo scored again in the closing seconds to seal a 5-3 aggregate success despite a 3-2 defeat on the night.
"It is our own fault it became complicated," the Portugal sensation told Spanish TV station TVE.
"In football you cannot gift anything. Today that is what happened and it ought to serve as an example for the future to play for 90 minutes."
Ronaldo scored his 47th and 48th goals of another stunning season to ensure Real's name will be in the hat for Friday's semi-final draw.
He added: "The team is fine, they gave me good passes and I did my job, which is to score goals.
"We are very happy to have qualified. We have achieved our objective and now we wait to see who we will play next."
At Vale Park, Jennison Myrie-Williams put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time but they paid the price for not adding more goals and Paul McCallum came off the bench to grab a potentially vital point for the visitors.
Aldershot lie one point from potential safety.
Burton edged into the third and final automatic promotion spot with a 2-0 home win over Wycombe.
Congolese midfielder Jacques Maghoma scored both goals, after 49 and 68 minutes.
Rotherham were emphatic 4-1 winners over Exeter at the New York Stadium.
Ben Pringle got the ball rolling in the first minute for the Millers, with Daniel Nardiello (28), Michael O'Connor (30) and Craig Morgan (51) also notching before Danny Coles' consolation in the 77th minute.
Bradford triumphed by the same scoreline at home to Bristol Rovers.
Nahki Wells scored twice, including a penalty, with Andrew Davies and Garry Thompson also on target for the Bantams, who moved above Exeter into the play-off zone as a result.
Liam Noble struck twice for the Cumbrians as they dealt Donny a bloody nose at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Rovers were looking to extend their lead over Bournemouth to five points but instead came unstuck as former Sunderland midfielder Noble hit a 35th-minute free-kick and followed up with a long-range strike four minutes from time.
Promotion-hopefuls Sheffield United were off colour at Bramall Lane, going down 2-0 to Crawley.
Billy Clarke put the visitors ahead in the 77th minute and substitute Paul Hayes added a second seven minutes later.
MK Dons increased their chances of breaking into the play-offs at the expense of sixth-placed Swindon, who they defeated 2-0.
Mathias Kouo-Doumbe (58) and Ryan Lowe (89) were the Dons' scorers.
Oldham slipped deeper into relegation trouble as Preston secured the points in a 2-0 victory at Deepdale.
Nicky Wroe's 11th goal of the season, from the penalty spot, and Will Hayhurst's goal at the death took North End's unbeaten home run to six, while Oldham remain above the drop zone on goal difference over Scunthorpe.
The 27-year-old withdrew from England duty ahead of the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro last month with the problem and required surgery.
Cahill has not played since suffering the injury in the Barclays Premier League defeat of West Ham on March 17 and is set to miss a further two weeks or more after the minor meniscus operation, but Benitez is optimistic a return is near.
"He had an operation," Benitez said.
"We did it very quickly on the Saturday of the Southampton game (March 30)."
Cahill and his fellow England defender Ashley Cole (hamstring) are stepping up their recoveries, but both are likely to miss crucial matches this season, including Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg at Rubin Kazan.
"The feeling from both is really good," Benitez said.
Cole suffered a hamstring injury in the Easter Monday win over Manchester United, two days after the Southampton defeat in the Premier League.
Cole's understudy Ryan Bertrand (illness) is doubtful for the trip to Moscow, when Chelsea will bid to confirm their progress to the semi-finals following last week's 3-1 first leg win.
If Bertrand joins Cole in missing out, Benitez could field Paulo Ferreira or young midfielder Nathan Ake at left-back at the Luzhniki Stadium.
There is good news over Demba Ba, the match-winner in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against United, who is expected to be fit for the holders' semi-final with Manchester City on Sunday.
The 27-year-old striker was taken off at half-time of last weekend's 2-1 Premier League win over Sunderland with an ankle injury after a first-half challenge by Craig Gardner.
Ba did not take part in full training on Tuesday and is cup-tied on Thursday, having represented Newcastle earlier in the competition, but should be fit to be considered for Wembley.
Benitez said: "Demba Ba did not train today, just as a precaution.
"It's not too serious. He will not go to Moscow. Hopefully he can train here and be okay for the weekend."
Long-term absentee Oriol Romeu (knee) is targeting a pre-season return.