Football

Raul snatches draw for Schalke

Raul snatches draw for Schalke (©PAphotos)
Raul snatches draw for Schalke (©PAphotos).

Raul scored his 70th goal in European competition as Schalke recovered from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Valencia at the Mestalla.

The former Spain international tucked away the equaliser in the 63rd minute, and the outcome might have been even better for the German side if Junmin Hao had tucked away a chance in injury-time which was saved by Vicente Guaita.

Valencia had plenty of chances to put the game - and potentially the tie - out of reach after Roberto Soldado had put them ahead in the first half but could not take advantage even when the visitors were then reduced to 10 men at the death with the dismissal of Lukas Schmitz.

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.

Ever Banega's ball across goal was not anticipated and it went inches wide before Schalke had a good chance to equalise when Raul brought down Manuel Neuer's goal kick and unleashed a shot from the edge of the area, forcing Guaita to dive to his right to push the ball away.

Aritz Aduriz again lost his marker in the area but his shot was more like a backpass and Valencia were penalised when Raul equalised. The ball was played in from the left by Jose Manuel Jurado and Raul nipped across David Navarro, took a touch and placed the ball under the goalkeeper.

Aduriz had a feeble attempt at a chip after being played in but Schalke were a far different proposition in the second half and they had a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the tie.

Hao found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat. He unleashed a firm, low shot which Guaita did well to turn aside before Schmitz was sent off, although the referee had to be alerted by one of his fellow officials that he had been booked twice.

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