AS Nancy-Lorraine overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to eliminate FC Schalke 04 in a match which saw the 1997 UEFA Cup winners' misery compounded by striker Gerald Asamoah breaking his leg.
After the first leg, Nancy coach Pablo Correa had insisted his side were capable of overcoming Schalke provided they scored early on. To this end he started with four forwards and the risky decision paid off after just 14 minutes when Benjamin Gavanon's corner was converted at the far post by Andre Luiz. Ten minutes after levelling the tie on aggregate, Nancy, urged on by the majority of a packed Stade Marcel Picot, scored again. Issiar Dia found Monsef Zerka on the edge of the box and he teed up Gaston Curbelo who finished the move sublimely.
Schalke, semi-finalists in this competition last season, sought a response and defender Marcelo Bordon went close before the break. After the restart, however, things went from bad to worse for the German team. Schalke coach Mirko Slomka was dismissed from the bench and although his side were on top, they then lost the injured Asamoah just after the hour. Six minutes they were caught out on the counterattack as Dia, today called up to the France Under-21 squad, raced clear to score his side's third goal.
Never say die
The visitors rallied and Bordon pulled a goal back with a fine strike, the defender volleying in a free-kick from Peter Løvenkrands to make it 3-1 on aggregate with 13 minutes to go. Nancy resisted Schalke's determined efforts to score again, however, despite finishing the tie with ten men after Benjamin Gavanon was dismissed late on for time-wasting.