Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Raul Scores to Earn Schalke 04 a 1-1 Draw Away To Valencia

Schalke 04 came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Valencia at the Mestalla. While Valencia were dominant playing at home, Schalke had plenty of chances and could have won the match if Huntelaar and Junmin Hao had scored their chances. But it was Raul who scored Schalke's important away goal, the Spaniard scored his 71st goal in European competitions.

Both sides had chances in the first minutes, with Huntelaar having the best one when he was in front of the goal with the ball in the air. Yet instead of smashing it into the net, the Dutch forward completely missed the ball with his foot, comically failing to score. Valencia then scored in the 17th minute with Soldado, who pounced on Mathieu's cross and tapped it in with ease.

After that, Schalke had a penalty shout when Topal protected his face with his hands inside Valencia's box. While many Schalke players were protesting for a penalty, the ball was crossed towards Kluge, who's header was tipped onto the crossbar and out of play by Valencia keeper Guaita.

Raul then forced Guaita to make another good save in the second half, with the striker volleying towards the bottom left corner of the Valencia goal. At the other end of the field Ricardo Costa scored, but his goal was wrongly ruled for an inexistent offside.

Then in the 64th minute Raul received the ball in the box, turned with his first touch, and slotted a classic finish to equalize for Schalke. It was a wonderful goal, and I'm glad to see that Raul is still able to produce his goalscoring touch in the Champions League.

Schalke will rue the fact that Junmin Hao didn't do better with his opportunity in the final minutes of the match. One on one with Guaita, Hao could only manage to release a weak shot which the Valencia keeper tipped out for a corner.

Schalke also had Schmitz sent off in the 90th minute after receiving his second yellow card. Initially the referee had given him a yellow card and forgotten that he had booked the player for a second time, but his assistant reminded him that two yellows = a red, and so Schmitz was sent off.

Therefore Felix Magath will have to do without Schmitz for the return leg in Germany. But if Schalke manage to not concede and play as well as they did today, progressing past Valencia won't be difficult. What were your thoughts about the match? Share them in the comments below!

Tottenham Get Crucial 1-0 Away Win Against AC Milan

Creator and scorer celebrating

The way which Tottenham have gone about their business in the Champions League is wonderful. Instead of watching a lifeless match at the San Siro, we got to see Tottenham win away from home in their fearless and adventurous style.

While the final score was 1-0, Tottenham were continuously working the ball in from the flanks, exploiting AC Milan's weak fullbacks. In the first half AC Milan seemed lifeless. Letting Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart dominate with almost no difficulty.

There were two injuries during this match, one to Abbiati and one to Corluka. Abbiati was replaced by Marco Amelia in the 17th minute after a strange corner in which Abbiati must have clashed his head against something. It seems like he had trouble standing, and apparently he has been diagnosed with a minor trauma to the head. Throughout the match, Corluka was pumping in crosses for Crouch until the 57th minute when Flamini swung in with a two-footed tackle, injuring and forcing Corluka to be substituted. The Frenchman should have been sent off with a red card, yet he only received a yellow. Corluka on the other hand was on crutches with a protective cast, watching Jonothan Woodgate make his return for tottenham.

Tottenham continued to hassle AC Milan, with Sandro and Palacios holding the midfield well. Crouch probably should have put away a few good chances, but the lanky striker ultimately decided the game in the second half. The Milan midfield was sluggish, with Seedorf unable to create, and Gattuso only able to pick fights with Tottenham's coach Joe Jordan (a former AC Milan player).

Corluka crumpled on the ground after Flamini's terrible tackle
The second half was slightly more entertaining. AC Milan were more dynamic with the introduction of Pato who replaced Seedorf, yet Tottenham were fearless as ever against the rossoneri. While the match became entertaining for a while, it slowly became more and more tense, with fouls and arguments (mostly from the home side) overtaking the actual play.

Yet Tottenham were intent on scoring an away goal. A quick counter-attack with Lennon running from the Tottenham half all the way to Milan's box, blazing past Yepes with no trouble. From there, Lennon delivered a delightful ball on the ground for Crouch to slot past Amelia.

It was nice seeing such a hardworking side reap the rewards. The 80th minute goal was the proper punishment for the incompetent Milan side, which did its best to react in the final minutes. Ibrahimovic managed to get a goal, but it was disallowed because of his blatant shove to Dawson - as he tried to make space for himself - before scoring it. In the end, it was the central defender Mario Yepes who came closest to score for Milan, but Gomes made a fantastic one-handed save to stop the goal-bound header.

Peter Crouch scoring the only goal of the match

An entertaining match which has major repercussions for AC Milan. Tottenham on the other hand must be extremely satisfied with the result, and hope that they can contain the rossoneri at White Hart Lane. What were your thoughts on the match? Share your comments below!


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