SL Benfica midfielder Javi García admitted his side were undone by the wealth of FC Schalke 04's attacking talent, even if Raúl González and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were swift to stress the collective nature of the home win in Group B.
Jefferson Farfán put the Bundesliga side in front after 73 minutes before Huntelaar struck his first UEFA Champions League goal for the club to seal the result five minutes from the end, with former Real Madrid CF team-mate Raúl instrumental in the build-up. The latter also hit the post late in the first half after a sublime exchange of passes with compatriot José Manuel Jurado.
"It was an important victory for us and even more so after the defeat in the first match against Lyon," Raúl told UEFA.com. "We have two home matches left and this win today gives us renewed belief ahead of the next match against Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
We played well against a strong Benfica team and it's the first step towards reaching the next round."
Raúl will be keen to add to his all-time UEFA Champions League record of 66 goals when Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC travel to Gelsenkirchen in three weeks. Should the 33-year-old's partnership with Huntelaar continue to develop at its current pace then the Israeli club could be in for an exacting evening, as Javi García warned: "
It's hard to control a team like Schalke all the time.
"They have players like Raúl, Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfán and Jurado," he added. "They're top-class players and they can decide a match in an instant. We played well for the first 70 minutes or so, but at the end of the day Schalke scored and we didn't. But we are still confident and we still believe we can reach the next round, and this defeat doesn't change that."
Schalke have now gone three games unbeaten, having lost five of their first six fixtures this season as coach Felix Magath's 12 close-season signings took time to bed in. Seven were in action against Benfica, with Huntelaar netting for the fourth successive game.
The Dutch international said: "Of course you want to score, but the most important thing was to win. We're level with Benfica on three points now, with Lyon on six, so it was important to win. In the last three matches we've played well, although in the first half here I think we lacked patience. The second half was better."
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