Raul makes it safe for Schalke

SCHALKE will face Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final after beating Inter Milan for the second time in eight days last night.

Following last Tuesday’s emphatic 5-2 victory in Italy, it was the talismanic Raul and defender Benedikt Howedes who scored the goals which rubber-stamped Schalke’s advance to the final four.

Inter failed to create anywhere near enough chances to bring about the unlikely comeback the defending European champions were hoping to achieve, only Thiago Motta managing to get his name on the scoresheet.

Samuel Eto’o had to drop deep right from the start of the game to get the ball as Schalke’s defence would not give an inch. Inter were restricted to efforts from distance as Wesley Sneijder’s third-minute strike, which was easily saved, set the tone for the first 30 minutes.

Raul then made Inter pay for their inability to create worthwhile chances by scoring clinically on the stroke of half time.

The Inter defence seemed to part and allow the impressive Jose Manuel Jurado to slide a ball straight into the path of the unmarked Raul, who showed great composure to round Julio Cesar and slot home his 71st Champions League goal.

Inter pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half when a deep Sneijder corner was headed goalwards by Lucio and bundled home by Motta from four yards out.

The outcome was sealed late on as Howedes was found with a fantastic lofted ball from Raul before hammering past Cesar from the edge of the box.

SCHALKE 04: Neuer, Uchida, Metzelder, Howedes, Sarpei, Baumjohann (Draxler 73), Matip, Papadopoulos, Jurado (Schmitz 86), Raul, Edu (Charisteas 77).

INTER MILAN: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Ranocchia, Lucio, Nagatomo, Motta, Stankovic (Pandev 46), Zanetti, Sneijder (Coutinho 80), Eto’o, Milito.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

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