Schalke battle back against Valencia to progress

Reuters , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

German side Schalke come from behind to overcome Valencia and book a place in the Champions League quarter finals

Jefferson Farfan
Farfan was Schalke's hero against Valencia

Schalke 04 advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals when two goals from Jefferson Farfan helped them come from a goal down to beat Valencia 3-1 on Wednesday and complete a 4-2 aggregate win.

Valencia took the lead through Ricardo Costa on 17 minutes before Peruvian Farfan levelled with a well-struck free kick.

Swiss Mario Gavranovic, who replaced injured Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, took advantage of some sloppy defending to score with a low drive off both posts seven minutes after the restart to put them ahead before Farfan added his second in stoppage time.

The Germans also had their goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to thank for booking a place in the last eight after Europe’s most sought-after keeper denied the Spaniards several times and spectacularly saved a point-blank shot with the score at 2-1.

The win will strengthen Schalke coach Felix Magath’s position at the club after widespread media reports hours before the game said he would leave at the end of the season.

Despite Magath’s denial, the rumours seemed to have had an effect on the team with Valencia quickly taking the initiative.

Valencia coach Unai Emery opted to leave experienced midfielders David Albelda and Joaquin on the bench but it initially did not show as Jeremy Mathieu fired the first warning shot after eight minutes.

The Spanish team’s early dominance paid off when Costa, a former Magath player at VfL Wolfsburg, headed in a smooth Mehmet Topal cross after 17 minutes.

Aritz Aduriz, who recovered in time from an ankle injury, should have scored another but his close-range effort was saved by Neuer. The Germany keeper was called again to save in front of the Spanish striker minutes later.

Schalke levelled against the run of play and five minutes before the break with Farfan curling a free kick over the bar and beyond the reach of Vicente Guaita.

The 21-year-old Gavranovic put Schalke ahead on the night seven minutes after the restart when his shot bounced off both posts before sliding into the net and he hit the woodwork twice late in the game.

Farfan made sure of the victory after a nervy final few minutes when he dinked the ball over the keeper in the fourth minute of stoppage time to put the German side through to the last eight of the competition for only their second time.

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