Shalke 2-1 Inter (Agg 7-3) Champions league quarter final match report & reactions
FIRST HALF –
To reach the semi-final Inter needed to win by a four-goal margin, and Sneijder, Milito and Eto’o were the attackers chosen for this particular task against Schalke. Leonardo selected Nagatomo as left-back, with Zanetti in midfield and Thiago Motta preferred to Cambiasso in front of the defence, in which Lucio could once again be found.
The first corner of the match was for the Germans, earned by Jurado and taken by Raul at the 3rd minute. However, the Nerazzurri were the first to have a shot on goal when Sneijder’s right-footed effort in the 5th minute was blocked by Neuer. An all-Japanese battle between Nagatomo and Uchida saw the Nerazzurri full-back get the upper hand in the 7th minute on an enterprising manoeuvre with Eto’o. Shortly afterwards Inter won their first corner kick, which was headed over the bar by Thiago Motta. Around the 17th minute Raul began to inspire the Schalke attack, first when he forced a diving save from Julio Cesar from Jurado’s cross, then again when he burst into the box, only to be expertly closed down by Nagatomo. In the 20th minute Edu took a free kick that was cleared from danger by Thiago Motta. In the 23rd minute Inter earned a series of corners but had nothing to show for it, other than a foul by Eto’o on Neuer. The German keeper was called upon in the 28th minute to block Nagatomo’s cross from the left with Milito lurking. The Argentine attacker then latched on to a long vertical pass from Lucio, but Howedes intervened to clear up the threat. Stankovic’s goal from the first leg was chosen by UEFA as the best of the quarter-finals, and it almost looked as if he was going to respond with another long-range gem this evening, but Neuer managed to palm away his vicious shot for a corner. In the 39th minute the Serb released Maicon with a forward ball that left the Brazilian one-on-one with the Schalke keeper, but the controlling touch wasn’t perfect and the ball finished wide of the post. Inter were now dominating at this point, but Schalke were the first get onto the scoreboard; Baumjohann touched a forward pass into space for Raul in the 45th minute and the Spaniard dribbled around Julio Cesar to deposit the ball into the empty net and make it 1-0.
One minute of injury time was added and then both sides entered the dressing rooms; Inter had the better of the possession, but the Germans had the goal.
SECOND HALF –
The situation was complicated, and so Leonardo sent on Pandev in place of Stankovic, thus fielding a 4-2-3-1. Inter’s equaliser arrived courtesy of Thiago Motta; Sneijder’s corner found the head of Lucio and was then sent on to the Italo-Brazilian who, from the middle of a scrum, put the ball in the net to bring the score to 1-1. In the 54th minute Julio Cesar dived to intercept Baumjohann’s dangerous cross. Five minutes later Howedes scored from Jurado’s cross (flicked on by Edu) but the goal was disallowed for offside. Inter did not give up, and in the 62nd minute Sneijder crossed for Eto’o, but the Cameroonian sent his header high over the crossbar. In the 68th minute Milito volleyed on the turn from Eto’s long pass only to see his shot sail wide, and then seven minutes later Sneijder’s free kick grazed the post. Schalke continued to advance; on a counterattack Raul lobbed a pass forward into space for a rampaging Howedes, and his crisp shot gave Julio Cesar no chance. 2-1. After a minute of injury time referee Skomina whistled to end the match. It was supposed to be an impossible task, and so it was. Yet it is also impossible to forget everything that the exiting European Champions gave us when they reconquered a trophy that had been awaited for so many years.
Schalke 04 2-1 Inter (HT: 1-0; AGG: 7-3)
Scorers: Raul 45, Thiago Motta 49, Howedes 81.
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).
Booked: Lucio 30, Raul 43, Thiago Motta 58, Papadopoulos 66, Schmitz 87, Ranocchia 90.
Added time: 1 + 1 minutes.
1 Neuer; 22 Uchida, 21 Metzelder, 4 Howedes, 2 Sarpei; 11 Baumjohann (31 Draxler, 73), 32 Matip, 14 Papadopoulos, 18 Jurado (13 Schmitz, 87); 7 Raul, 9 Edu (15 Charisteas, 77).
Unused subs: 33 Schober, 5 Plestan, 8 Hao, 16 Karimi.
Coach: Ralf Rangnick.
1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta, 5 Stankovic (27 Pandev, 46); 10 Sneijder (29 Coutinho, 80), 22 Milito, 9 Eto’o.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 14 Kharja, 19 Cambiasso, 23 Materazzi, 29 Coutinho.
“We’re disappointed because we really believed it was possible. We’re disappointed to go out, but this team has given so much, even in difficult situations,” he continued. “Our overall condition as we came into this quarter-final wasn’t the best; we had used up so much energy and that penalised us, starting in the first leg of course. It’s not the same disappointment as after the first-leg, mind; that was a truly bizarre game.
“I had dreamt about us completing the comeback,” he added. “If we had got a goal at the beginning, if we had been as clinical as we wanted, it might have set us on our way, but it wasn’t to be. Certainly we could have done better but we weren’t able to. It’s a shame that Schalke scored from their only decent chance in the first half and that we weren’t incisive enough. They were struggling to cope with the situation but we couldn’t strike the blow that might have turned the tie.” Asked to give his team a mark, the Brazilian replied: “It’s not about giving marks, but this team has undoubtedly had a troubled season. I’ve asked a lot of them and it wasn’t easy with all the players that were returning from injuries. There’s no regret about anything because, as I said, this team has done so much and given me so much. I was and I am enthusiastic, and I wouldn’t regret things even if we lost every game. I’ll maintain my enthusiasm; you know I don’t think about the future but I work the same way as I did the first day. Now we have to make sure we overcome the moment with intelligence. We have to battle on in the league and in the Coppa Italia: we still have a lot to do.”
“We did everything we could in this competition. Raul’s goal came from a mistake of ours when we were in control of the game, but the tie was already compromised in the first leg. Of course we’re all disappointed.” That was Javier Zanetti’s comment as he spoke to Rai at the end of the game. He continued: “Now we have to give it everything we’ve got until the end of the season, in the league and the Coppa Italia. We certainly believe we can win them.”
“We’ll move on now: we want to win the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia,” began Wesley Sneijder as he spoke to Inter Channel. “We thought we could do it tonight but we knew it would be very difficult: we created lots of chances but if you don’t stick them away it’s very hard. Schalke did well in San Siro and again today; we lost the tie at home more than here. The applause from the Nerazzurri fans? We thank every one of them because they are always behind us. Now we have to do our best for them in the league and in the cup. We’ll put this elimination behind us and focus on the targets we have left. We’ll look forward.”
“I can’t hide the fact that I’m a little disappointed after this defeat, but we don’t have time to stop and worry about it now: we still have the league and we’ll concentrate on that and on the Coppa Italia, which are our targets from today.” Yuto Nagatomo commented on the defeat at the Veltins-Arena as he spoke to Inter Channel. There was also a match within the match, with Uchida and Nagatomo facing each other in Schalke 04 v Inter: “We lost,” confessed the Nerazzurri full-back, “but Uchida has won with Schalke and the Japanese part of me is a little bit happy because he will go on with his team.”
“The first-leg result certainly influenced this game,” explained Andrea Ranocchia at the end of the match. “We came here and went for it. We put everything into it but unfortunately we just couldn’t get the early goal. A team like Inter can look forward now, though. We have the league and the cup and we want to be in them till the end,” the Nerazzurri defender concluded.
“Today I would like to thank my team, all the players from recent years and the current side who have brought so much joy to all Inter fans, myself included. We are, and always will be, proud of their achievements.
I am sure that the team will dig deep and find the strength and quality that we know they are capable of, so that we can achieve the targets we are aiming for this season too. And I am sure that, with the fans’ support, the coach and the team will bring us yet further joy.”
Posted on April 14, 2011, in UEFA Champions League and tagged Champions League, Football, Leonardo, Moratti, Nagatomo, Nerazzurri, Ranocchia, Shalke, Sneijder, Zanetti. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.