Schalke's Raúl upbeat after Valencia draw
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Raúl González had a "positive feeling" after his equaliser earned FC Schalke 04 a 1-1 draw at Mestalla, but told UEFA.com that Valencia CF "can be very dangerous away from home".
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In the aftermath of Tuesday's frenetic and thrilling match at Mestalla, Raúl González was as elegant and clinical as he had been during FC Schalke 04's defiant 1-1 draw with Valencia CF.
The former Spain striker knew there were spells when Unai Emery's men were not only on top but playing with conviction and authority, but Raúl had been through similar situations many times before. Roberto Soldado put the hosts ahead on 17 minutes, but once more Raúl proved himself capable of leadership, and in the 64th minute produced the kind of trademark goal which made him a Real Madrid CF sensation at 17 and continues to mark him out as a forward to be feared.
"It's a positive feeling to come away from a tough ground like Mestalla [with a draw] against a good Valencia side who admittedly were better than us for parts of the match," the 33-year-old told UEFA.com. "Their early goal meant that initially we struggled to impose our game on them, but little by little we clawed our way into it and then in the second half we clearly had enough chances to have scored more goals.
"However, if anyone misjudges Valencia and thinks an away draw is sufficient to put us through, I'd say: 'Watch out.' We turned this match on its head after going 1-0 down. We could have won but generally it was pretty even and I think the next tie will be more of the same. We will need 90 very intense minutes of our best football to convert this into a pass to the next round – especially as Valencia can be a very dangerous team away from home."
Raúl's equaliser was a treat: he showed movement and anticipation to see José Manuel Jurado's left-wing cross coming, stole in front of David Navarro, controlled with one touch and then scored with another from his lethal left foot. One spectator in whom this prototype Raúl strike would have evoked memories of winning the 2002 UEFA Champions League final in Glasgow was César Sánchez – Valencia's substitute goalkeeper.
Normally first choice and Raúl's team-mate when Madrid lifted their ninth European Champion Clubs' Cup at Hampden Park, César has been replaced by the precocious Vicente Guaita who made one notable stop from Raúl to keep Valencia level. Now the teams face a winner-takes-all showdown next month in Gelsenkirchen.
Raúl, with three winners' medals from this competition already, knows the recipe for success. "The key is to play an intense second leg," he continued. "A 0-0 draw puts us through, it's true, but Valencia are more than capable of creating chances in Germany and scoring an away goal."