La Liga - Valencia dumped out by Germans
Thu, 10 Mar 10:45:00 2011
Schalke came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 on the night at the Veltins-Arena and progress to the Champions League last eight with a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Jefferson Farfan was the star for Schalke, capping an outstanding display with two goals as his side book their place in the quarter-finals alongside Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona.
The Peru winger shone throughout and clinched the victory in injury time with his second strike, a classy chip over Vicente Guaita. Earlier, he cancelled out Ricardo Costa's opener with a fierce free-kick with Mario Gavranovic putting Felix Magath's side in front.
Schalke started on the front foot with Farfan prominent but Valencia had the first noteworthy attempt on goal when Jeremy Mathieu was left unmarked from a well-worked corner to drag a shot just wide.
Joaquin was influential for the visitors and one of his crosses from the right bounced off Christoph Metzelder and back to Manuel Neuer amid appeals for handball. The action was moving from end-to-end as Gavranovic could only steer a free header straight into the grateful arms of Guaita.
Valencia drew first blood on 17 minutes when Mehmet Topal turned cleverly on the left and delivered a driven cross that allowed Ricardo Costa to claim his first goal for the club by tilting his head backwards and appearing to bullet the ball home with his face in dramatic fashion.
The hard-working Raul steered a header wide as Schalke responded in kind but they were indebted to Metzelder for a sprawling challenge to block a shot by Aritz Aduriz following a neat through ball by Juan Mata.
The match went into a lull before the home fans were brought back into life in spectacular fashion five minutes before half-time. Just when Valencia were starting to look comfortable, Farfan cracked a free-kick in a dangerous position past Guaita to level the scores going into the break.
Schalke started the second half positively and were rewarded seven minutes after the restart when Guaita flapped at a cross by Peer Kluge. The ball fell to Farfan and his shot was blocked by the keeper, only for Gavranovic to fire the rebound goalwards, the ball taking an age to cross the line after hitting both posts.
Aduriz spurned a great chance to equaliser when a Mathieu cross came off the grounded Metzelder and fell kindly for him and the lone striker would have levelled soon afterwards but for a brilliant save by Neuer. The highly-rated keeper tipped away the forward's shot after he was given a one-on-one opening by Joaquin's threaded through ball.
Raul continued to work hard to be a threat at the other end, looping one header straight to Guaita but he must have held his breath when Roberto Soldado delivered an inviting cross into the Schalke box and fellow substitute Tino Costa somehow made a hash of his finish from a glorious position.
Neuer looked confident, comfortably denying Mata and winning a series of punches, with Los Che becoming more and more desperate in search of a crucial second away goal.
Unai Emery naturally started to throw caution to the wind and Gavranovic ran through when Ricardo Costa was guilty of a sliced clearance, only to shoot against the outside of a post.
With the atmosphere becoming increasingly tense, Mathieu felt he was fouled by behind by Farfan when managing to get a shot away inside the box and David Navarro hooked a tame effort from a corner well wide.
In injury time, the visiting defence was non-existent and Raul sparked one attack to send Gavranovic through with the striker, deputising for the injured Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, trying an audacious chip that hit the bar with Guaita beaten.
It mattered little as Valencia's backline was still AWOL for the remainder of stoppage time and Farfan finally made them pay when afforded the freedom of the opposing half to run through and nervelessly loft his finish over Guaita to seal the victory.
Schalke progress to the quarter-finals after an entertaining evening with Farfan probably the difference between the two teams in the end.
Schalke - Valence Reaction