Spot-on Twente eke out advantage against Schalke
Thursday, March 8, 2012
FC Twente 1-0 FC Schalke 04
Luuk de Jong's emphatic second-half penalty earned Steve McClaren's impressive side a narrow lead to defend in Gelsenkirchen next week.
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FC Twente secured a 1-0 win against FC Schalke 04 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in Enschede thanks to Luuk de Jong's second-half penalty.
There was plenty of endeavour from both teams but precious few chances throughout. Jermaine Jones had the clearest opening before the break but shot over when one-on-one with Nikolay Mihaylov. The second half was equally lacking in opportunities bar De Jong's spot kick on 61 minutes after Joel Matip had been dismissed for upending Twente's No9 in the box.
Timo Hildebrand was the first keeper called into action, diving high to his left to clutch De Jong's tenth-minute header. The Schalke keeper blocked Nacer Chadli with a more straightforward catch soon after. The next clear-cut opening came for the visitors, though, Jones robbing Wout Brama of the ball and driving into the box after exchanging passes with Chinedu Obasi. His shot, however, did not trouble Mihaylov.
Douglas then brilliantly dispossessed Raúl González with a sliding tackle as the wily striker shaped to shoot, and seconds later Leroy Fer broke free at the other end but his first touch was too heavy. With just over half an hour gone, Ola John lobbed in a clever cross to the back post from the right, only for Chadli to hit the side netting.
The second half initially continued in the same vein as the first, with both sides tidy on the ball but unable to force the breakthrough. Everything changed on the hour, though, when Matip was adjudged to have tripped De Jong in the box as he chased John's deep pass. The Cameroon defender got a red card and De Jong rammed the resultant spot kick into the top corner.
The goal, however, did little to change the pattern of the game. Steve McClaren's side found it just as difficult to breach the rearranged German defence, despite a late flurry, while Schalke still managed only occasional forays forward. These are two well matched teams; this tie is far from over.