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Farfán sets Schalke on road to relief

FC Schalke 04 2-0 SL Benfica
For a long time it seemed neither side would break the deadlock, but goals from Jefferson Farfán and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar edged it for the hosts.

Farfán sets Schalke on road to relief
Farfán sets Schalke on road to relief ©UEFA.com

FC Schalke 04 put their difficult start to the season behind them as two second-half goals got them off the mark in Group B against SL Benfica.

Jefferson Farfán justified Felix Magath's faith in handing him a starting berth in place of Jermaine Jones by breaking the deadlock of a previously tight contest 17 minutes from time. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar then sealed the points late on to extend his scoring streak to four goals in as many games. Portuguese champions Benfica enjoyed plenty of possession but were unable to translate that into a series of serious attempts on goal.

The visitors were quicker out of the blocks, though. They threatened down the left and won a succession of corners, one nearly led to the opener in the seventh minute, when Luisão brought the best out of Manuel Neuer with a clever back-heel. Raúl González almost delighted the home fans with what would have been a maiden UEFA Champions League goal in Schalke colours, after a record 66 for Real Madrid CF, hitting the upright just before the interval after an exquisite one-two with compatriot José Manuel Jurado. Ivan Rakitić forced Roberto into a fine save from the rebound.

Visiting coach Jorge Jesus decided to change things around on the hour, introducing Pablo Aimar in place of Javier Saviola. However, both sides looked bereft of ideas before Farfán struck – an assured diagonal finish past Roberto from Lukas Schmitz's testing cross. Raúl then played a key part in Huntelaar scoring to seal the points five minutes from time, dispossessing David Luiz and feeding substitute Jones on the left. Checking his run, Huntelaar remained onside and steered Jones' low cross into the net from close range for his first European goal for Schalke.

The relief around the Arena AufSchalke was palpable as Magath's side held on to win at home for the first time since mid-April. Benfica have to pick themselves up for the Matchday 3 trip to Olympique Lyonnais, while Schalke will bid for a second successive home win against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.