Schalke beats Basel 2-0 to advance
Schalke took advantage of some questionable refereeing decisions
to beat a 10-man Basel 2-0 on Wednesday and advance to last 16 of
the Champions League.
Basel finished third in Group E and will play in the Europa
League. Schalke joined group winner Chelsea in the knockout stage
of the Champions League. Chelsea finished with 12 points after
beating last-place Steaua 1-0. Schalke had 10 points and Basel
finished with eight, despite beating Chelsea twice.
”Few people thought we could pull it off,” Schalke’s embattled
coach Jens Keller said.
Julian Draxler put Schalke ahead in the 51st and Joel Matip
secured the victory in the 57th – but was clearly offside, along
with three other Schalke players. But the flag stayed down and the
Matip said he was surprised himself.
”I looked at the linesman, he made no move and I just played
on,” the defender said.
Matip collected a free-kick from Jefferson Farfan and had no
trouble slotting home with no Basel defenders anywhere near to
Basel defender Ivan Ivanov was sent off in the 31st in a harsh
decision by referee Paolo Tagliavento. Ivanov pulled down Adam
Szalai just outside the area. Schalke’s Benedikt Hoewedes escaped
with a yellow card for a similar foul only minutes earlier.
Hoewedes pulled a hamstring in that challenge and had to be
substituted. Szalai came in and earned the decisive foul with his
first action, although he may have been offside as well.
Farfan had also set up Schalke’s first goal, sending a long ball
to the far post for Draxler to send a first-time low shot past the
wrong-footed Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Draxler later also
limped off the field.
Basel came into the match riding an 11-game unbeaten run and
would have advanced with a draw. Schalke needed to win to progress
and the victory gave Keller some breathing room.
”We were under a lot of pressure and I must compliment my
teammates,” Schalke’s Kevin-Prince Boateng said.
Farfan tormented Basel’s defense from the start and curled a
shot wide in the 17th, while Sommer turned away Farfan’s stab from
close range in the 44th.
Early in the match, Taulant Xhaka had redirected a cross from
Farfan onto his own crossbar.
Sommer made a brilliant save on Farfan’s free kick in 82nd,
digging out the ball from upper right corner, then denied the
Peruvian with another outstanding save late in the match.
Farfan finally beat Sommer but hit the post in the 89th.