Google+ PLANET FOOT 7: UEFA Champions League: Schalke 04 3 - Steaua Bucharest 0.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

UEFA Champions League: Schalke 04 3 - Steaua Bucharest 0.

Schalke 04 were made to work difficult for more than an hour before scoring three times to beat battling Steaua Bucharest 3-0 in their Champions League Group E opener on Wednesday.

Atsuto Uchida gave the German side a lucky lead against the run of play when he floated in a 67th-minute cross to the close post and the ball bounced into the net after a defensive misunderstanding.

Kevin-Prince Boateng doubled the lead in the 78th, completing a swift move involving Jefferson Farfan before Julian Draxler put a gloss on the scoreline five minutes from time.

Schalke, who have won their group in each of their last two Champions League campaigns, were troubled by the disciplined Romanians, who had to fight through the qualifying rounds to attain this stage of the competition.

The hosts, on a four-game winning streak in all competitions, needed time to locate their footing.

They speedily carved out two good chances after gaining the lion's share of possession but Adam Szalai's close-range effort was saved and Boateng threatened with a deflected header.

But carelessness gradually crept into Schalke's game, allowing the former European champions, in search of their first win in Germany since 1957, to grow bolder and venture forward.

Schalke defender Uchida came to the rescue in the 54th minute, clearing Alexandru Bourceanu's good header on the line with keeper Timo Hildebrand beaten.

Adrian Popa came agonisingly close when his left-footed drive from a tight angle sailed in front of the goalmouth upon the hour as the pressure upon Schalke mounted.

The hosts, however, got an unexpected fracture when Uchida crossed into the crate from the right, the ball bouncing once before rolling in with Steaua keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu left arguing with his defenders.

Their second effort was a textbook crack with Farfan charging down the right, cutting into the bin and Julian Draxler flicking the ball upon for new signing Boateng to slot in.

Draxler chipped in upon 85 minutes after yet another good move initiated by Farfan as Schalke's nerves finally settled.

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