Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valencia Made To Pay For Wastefulness

Raúl Schalke ValenciaHow often has a team, seemingly sitting pretty on a one-nil advantage, been punished for a failure to convert dominance into goals? Once again we were showed exactly why a 1-0 lead, particularly in Europe's premier football competition, is just not enough. With left-back Mathieu providing brilliant cross after brilliant cross, and Ever Banega dominating the midfield, it seemed inevitable that Valencia would run away with their first leg match, and leave Schalke facing an exit from Europe. However, we were once again reminded never to write off the Germans, as living legend, Raul, cashed in on his first clear cut opportunity of the game, and rifled the ball into the Valencia net.

Raul's 70th goal in European competition, pulled Schalke back into a tie which looked to be done and dusted as a confident Valencia ran the German side ragged for the first 60 minutes at the Mestalla. The picture now looks significantly more gloomy for the 2000 finalists, and in light of Schalke's magnificent defensive record in European competition, one struggles to see a way back into the tie for Unai Emery's team. At one-nil Valencia would have had Schalke exactly where they wanted them, chasing the tie. But following Raul's equalizer, it is now Valencia who will have to chase the game, as a nil-nil draw in Germany will not be enough to progress through to the quarter finals.

Can Valencia battle through to the quarters?

Where does Raul rank in the pantheon of European goalscorers?

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