A match which began with Inter Milan scoring one of the great Champions League goals ended with their Champions League ambitions all but dead as Schalke twice came from behind in the San Siro to claim a commanding 5-2 advantage in their quarter-final.
Dejan Stankovic needed just 25 seconds to volley his side into the lead with a stunning hit from the centre circle, but Joel Matip levelled, just as Edu did before half-time after Diego Milito restored Inter's lead.
It was all downhill for the Italian champions after the break as Raul netted for Schalke, Andrea Ranocchia scored an own goal and Cristian Chivu picked up his second red card in four days, before Edu notched again to round off a miserable night.
Inter immediately took the lead in stunning fashion when Manuel Neuer advanced out of his area under pressure from Milito and headed clear. He got good distance but the ball went straight to Stankovic in the centre circle, who showed great technique and power to volley first time over the defence, over Neuer and over the line.
But Schalke were level in the 17th minute as Kyriakos Papadopoulos was left completely unmarked at the far post from Jefferson Farfan's corner and, though his header was straight at Julio Cesar, the ball broke to Matip, who hammered home.
Inter went back ahead when a neat move involving Milito and Javier Zanetti saw Wesley Sneijder cross to Esteban Cambiasso at the far post and he headed back across goal to Milito, who, having stayed just onside, had a simple task to finish from close range.
They could not hang onto their lead until half-time, though, as Edu drew Schalke level, following up to finish from a narrow angle after Cesar had done well to save his initial deflected shot.
Schalke took the lead in the 53rd minute as Raul claimed his 70th Champions League goal, finishing low past Cesar after good work by Farfan and it got worse for Inter four minutes later when Ranocchia slid in under no pressure and diverted Manuel Jurado's low cross into his own net.
Chivu was shown a second yellow, having also been sent off in the Milan derby, for a challenge on Edu in the 62nd minute which the Brazilian made the most of. They almost paid the price three minutes later when Jurado crashed a shot against the post.
Farfan's 75th-minute shot was saved by Cesar and his follow-up effort turned against the post by Ranocchia, but moments later the ball broke to Edu, who turned Ranocchia and curled the ball past the despairing goalkeeper.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms