Raul marks Spanish return with priceless equaliser
Valencia 1 Schalke 04 1
Wednesday 16 February 2011
Raul celebrated his return to Spain with a goal to rescue a draw for Schalke 04 at Valencia in their Champions League last-16 first leg.
The 33-year-old former Real Madrid striker extended his record tally in European club competitions to 69 when he scored just after the hour to cancel out a 17th-minute effort from another ex-Real player, Roberto Soldado.
Valencia controlled play for long periods but squandered a number of chances and will be disappointed not to have converted their superiority into an advantage for next month's second leg in Gelsenkirchen. Schalke's Lukas Schmitz was sent off for a second caution deep into stoppage time.
Both sides attacked from the off and Guaita was called into action in the fourth minute when Jose Manuel Jurado swung in a free-kick from the left forcing the Valencia goalkeeper to punch the ball away under pressure.
The visitors should have taken the lead in the ninth minute when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar found himself unmarked as Valencia appealed for offside but he completely miskicked.
However, it was the hosts who took the lead. Jeremy Mathieu overlapped on the left wing and crossed into the near post where Soldado had lost his marker, and the striker sent a first-time right-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
Schalke kept plugging away and Mehmet Topal was powerless to stop the ball hitting his hands in front of his face in the penalty area before Guaita had to be alert to push Peer Kluge's looping header on to the bar, but they were having problems dealing with Valencia's attacking play. Schalke also allowed Aritz Aduriz to get free in the box and would have been thankful when he shot into the side netting.
However, in the 63rd minute Valencia were penalised when Raul equalised. The ball was played in from the left by Jurado and Raul nipped across David Navarro, took a touch and placed the ball under the goalkeeper.
Valencia (4-3-3): Guaita; Miguel, Navarro, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu (Jordi Alba, 78); Banega (Vicente, 68), Topal, Costa; Dominguez (Joaquin, 68), Soldado, Aduriz. Substitutes not used Cesar (gk), Bruno, Maduro, Pablo.
Schalke 04 (4-4-1-1): Neuer; Uchida, Howedes, Metzelder, Schmitz; Farfan (Draxler 79), Kluge, Matip, Jurado (Edu, 83); Raul; Huntelaar (Hao, 90). Substitutes not used Schober (gk), Sarpei, Karimi, Gavranovic
Referee A Nikolaev (Russia)
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