Champions League: Valencia 1 Schalke 1

Real Madrid legend Raul returned to Spain for the first time since leaving to help new side Schalke secure a valuable 1-1 draw with Valencia.

Raul’s strike on Tuesday was his 69th Champions League goal and his 71st in UEFA competitions, taking him past Filippo Inzaghi as the all-time highest goal-scorer in European competition.

The away draw gives the Bundesliga outfit every chance of progressing in the second leg at the Gelsenkirchen on March 10.

But the night could not have begun worse for Schalke, as the 2000 and 2001 Champions League finalists claimed an early lead.

A lovely move that began with Aduriz found Frenchman Jeremy Mathieu, who put a sublime early ball into the box.

Striker Roberto Soldado charged towards the near post and struck a left-foot shot past Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, sending the Mestalla crowd wild.

The goalscorer had another chance to find the back of the net only moments later but turned his header wide after a neat cross from Miguel, while Aduriz could only find the side netting from six yards.

Valencia turned up the heat in their quest for a second goal after the break with Argentine Ever Banega just shooting wide, before Aduriz shot straight at the goalkeeper when he should have done better.

And the La Liga outfit’s failure to take their chances came back to haunt them after 64 minutes when Raul found the back of the net.

A neat ball from fellow Spaniard Jurado gave Raul the chance and, after a well-controlled first touch, he produced an exquisite left-foot finish that reminded everyone of the former Spain captain’s undoubted qualities in front of goal.

It was a vital goal for the Germans and they nearly claimed a late winner when, in the first minute of injury time, substitute Hao Junmin – who had only just come onto the pitch – forced a terrific save from Guaita in Valencia’s goal.

But in the end Schalke were happy to settle for an away point, especially after the injury time dismissal of Lukas Schmitz for a second yellow card.

 


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