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Schalke 0-1 Barcelona

By Mandeep Sanghera

Krkic Bojan
Bojan, 17, became the Champions League's second youngest goalscorer

Barcelona survived late pressure to beat Schalke 04 to give themselves the upper hand after their Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie.

Bojan Krkic put the visitors ahead from point-blank range after Thierry Henry crossed for the 17-year-old to score.

But Schalke dominated after the break and Halil Altintop dinked a shot wide.

Soren Larsen headed wide and Marcelo Bordon had a header tipped over late on for the home side, but Barcelona just about held on for the vital away win.

There had been doubts over the Spanish side's resolve ahead of the game after they lost 3-2 having led 2-0 against Real Betis in La Liga at the weekend.

But Schalke failed to exploit any early nerves in the Barcelona ranks and it was the Spanish outfit who created the first opening.

Andres Iniesta was played through on goal but his first touch was too heavy and keeper Manuel Neuer came out to save as the midfielder tried to poke the ball past him.

606: DEBATE

Neuer undid his good work shortly afterwards, though, when he could only parry Henry's sidefooted effort from a tight angle after the Frenchman had been played in by Iniesta's clever pass.

Henry latched on to the loose ball to find the unmarked Bojan at the far post, the young star slotting in from point-blank range to become the second youngest scorer in Champions League history.

Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi headed straight at Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes soon after, but it was a rare threat on the visitors' goal as the home side failed to match the expectation that they could cause a possible upset.

And only an interception from home centre-back Bordon then prevented Bojan latching onto Samuel Eto'o's neat cross to double Barca's advantage as the Spanish side's level of control resulted in groans of frustration from the home crowd.

But Schalke pushed forward after the break and Altintop saw a deflected shot go just wide.

Christian Pander then unleashed a powerful shot which Valdes failed to gather before defender Carles Puyol cleared.

Barcelona invited pressure as they sat back on their lead and an encouraged Schalke almost made the Catalan club pay.

Altintop should have been ruled offside but was allowed to run through before dinking a shot over the on-rushing Valdes and a defender, only to see his effort across goal go agonisingly wide.

Larsen then headed wide as Schalke failed to make the most of their chances, before Eric Abidal escaped conceding a penalty when it seemed he pulled at Schalke's Heiko Westermann, who put a shot wide.

Schalke's Bordon also had a late header tipped over but Barca ran out winners as the German side paid for a slow start to the tie against vulnerable opponents.


Schalke coach Mirko Slomka:
"If you saw the second half we had plenty of chances so you can't say that there is no point in going to Barcelona.

"We know it will be difficult but we're going to give it a shot."

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard:
"I'm delighted for Bojan because he just does everything right on the field.

"Every decision he takes is the right one. You look at his age and then you see him performing like a great player for his team. He deserves special congratulation.

"He shouldn't lose his humility and should keep working, but really, it was a pleasure to watch him."


Schalke 04: Neuer, Rafinha, Bordon, Krstajic, Westermann, Asamoah (Larsen 73), Ernst, Kobiashvili, Pander, Kuranyi (Sanchez 60), Altintop (Lovenkrands 88).
Subs Not Used: Schober, Abel, Grossmuller, Howedes.

Booked: Pander, Larsen, Ernst, Krstajic.

Barcelona: Valdes, Zambrotta, Puyol, Milito, Abidal, Xavi, Toure Yaya (Marquez 73), Iniesta, Bojan (Sylvinho 85), Eto'o (Giovanni 82), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Pinto, Gudjohnsen, Edmilson, Thuram.

Booked: Milito, Puyol, Marquez, Giovanni.

Goals: Bojan 12.

Att: 53,951

Ref: Kyros Vassaras (Greece).


see also
Roma 0-2 Man Utd
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Champions League as it happened
01 Apr 08 |  Europe


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