Raul's goal took him past Filippo Inzaghi as Uefa's all-time leading goalscorer
By Les Roopanarine
Schalke forward Raul marked his return to Spain with a trademark strike to deny Valencia victory in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
The former Real Madrid man latched on to Jose Manuel Jurado's left-wing cross to slot home from eight yards out.
Roberto Soldado had earlier given Valencia the lead, finishing with aplomb from a Jeremy Mathieu cross.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar missed an excellent early chance for Schalke, while Peer Kluge saw a header turned onto the bar.
Inevitably, however, from Valencia to Gelsenkirchen, it is Raul - who was greeted by a throng of Spanish fans on his arrival in Valencia on Monday - who will dominate tomorrow's headlines.
So often the scourge of Valencia in his Real Madrid days, when he scored 13 times in 25 games against Los Che - not least in the 2000 Champions League final - Raul claimed a place in the record books with his strike, moving ahead of AC Milan's Filippo Inzaghi as Uefa's all-time leading goalscorer.
Yet while Raul will relish having rewritten the record books yet again and Schalke head coach Felix Magath will be delighted to have secured a result that gives his side a slender advantage in the battle to reach the quarter-finals, it was far from straightforward for the visitors.
Valencia grew visibly in authority following Soldado's goal and both the Spain international and Aritz Aduriz threatened to extend the home side's lead before the break, as did Ever Banega shortly after the restart.
Magath had talked of a "tough but doable" challenge ahead of the contest. If he hoped to lay the foundations for progress to the quarter-finals by staying true to the defensive virtues that had brought 13 clean sheets in his side's previous 20 games, he was to be disappointed.
Like Valencia, the visitors were frequently careless at the back, and on another night both sides might have suffered greater punishment for their lack of vigilance.
Valencia began the evening with all the optimism one would expect from a team with six wins in their last seven league games, with Aduriz claiming a handball against Atsuto Uchida, Schalke's Japanese right-back, after barely 30 seconds.
It was a hopeful appeal at best, but Aduriz - anointed as a Spain international last October at the ripe old age of 29 - has been around the block enough times to appreciate that, at this level, it is vital to make the most of every opportunity.
Schalke, and in particular Huntelaar, would have done well to heed the proffered lesson.
With nine minutes gone, Huntelaar - six yards out, the goal at his mercy, but apparently waiting for an offside decision that never came - contrived to make minimal contact with a cushioned pass from Benedikt Howedes.
Eight minutes later, Valencia - who had been defending sloppily while struggling to establish any fluency going forward - were ahead.
Aduriz fed the overlapping Mathieu and the full-back left Uchida for dead, racing along the left before sending in a near-post cross for Soldado to slot home.
The goal was the Spaniard's sixth in six Champions League games this season and it was dispatched with a dexterity that spoke volumes about Raul's reasons for urging Schalke to beware his former Real Madrid team-mate in the build-up to the game.
Yet Raul, whose glittering CV includes six La Liga titles and three Champions League victories, is a difficult man to upstage and there was an air of inevitability about his equaliser from the moment Jurado's left-wing cross left his boot.
Controlling the ball instantly, Raul shook off the attentions of David Navarro before firing unerringly across Vicente Guaita.
Having earlier hit the bar through Kluge, Schalke - who also had a first-half penalty appeal turned down, probably rightly, when Jefferson Farfan punted a ball into the box at Mehmet Topal from point-blank range, prompting the midfielder to protect his face with his hands - almost grabbed a stoppage-time winner through substitute Junmin Hao.
Valencia, meanwhile, who have made a habit of scoring late goals this year, looked increasingly less likely to fashion a winner of their own, despite the late dismissal of Schalke defender Lukas Schmitz for a second bookable offence.
Somehow, though, it seemed fitting that there should be no last-gasp winner on this occasion; the football gods had decreed that it was to be Raul's night.
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