Schalke beats Steaua 3-0 in Champions League
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke defeated Steaua Bucharest 3-0 in the Champions League to extend the Romanian side’s miserable record in Germany on Wednesday.
Atsuto Uchida scored against the run of play for the home side in the 67th, when the Japanese defender’s attempted cross took Bucharest goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu by surprise after it wasn’t cleared by a defender.
Julian Draxler set up Kevin-Prince Boateng in the 78th, and the 19-year-old Draxler then sealed the win by lofting the ball over Tatarusanu with five minutes remaining.
“We’ve made an outstanding start to the Champions League and above all not conceded again,” Schalke coach Jens Keller said after his side’s third successive clean sheet. “I’m delighted about that. The first goal was a lucky goal but you need that sometimes and that’s how the game went.”
Bucharest, which was the better side for most of the match, has not beaten a Bundesliga side in 15 games going back to 1957.
“They scored at their first goal opportunity. This happens in football when you make childish mistakes,” said Steaua coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, whose side had been unbeaten in 12 games across all competitions.
FC Basel won 2-1 at Chelsea in the other Group E match.
Schalke made the better start, but still had to wait nine minutes for Adam Szalai to carve out the first chance when he eluded a defender on the edge of the area. Tatarusanu easily gathered his effort, however.
Boateng headed straight at the Romania goalkeeper minutes later, with the visiting defense struggling to deal with Schalke’s quick combinations.
Bucharest captain Alexandru Bourceanu earned a yellow card for taking down Boateng, then berated his defense for allowing the midfielder so much space.
The visitors gained the ascendency after Cristian Tanase drew a good save from Timo Hildebrand in the 31st.
Adrian Popa and Nicolae Stanciu both tried their luck, before a mistake from Hildebrand — when he kicked straight out to Pantelis Kapetanos — might have been costly only for the Bucharest striker to be pulled back for a foul on Joel Matip.
Uchida cleared Bourceanu’s header off the line in the 54th as Schalke appeared to be in serious trouble. But a mix up in the Bucharest defense — when Lukasz Szukala left the ball for his goalkeeper — took everyone by surprise as Uchida’s cross nestled inside the far post.
Confident again, the home side went in search of another goal and Szalai blasted over before Boateng fired wide.
Draxler found Boateng unmarked on the left to shoot inside the far post, but the Germany midfielder saved the best for last, playing the ball to Jefferson Farfan, bursting into the penalty area to receive it back from Christian Fuchs and chip the outrushing goalkeeper with his first touch.
“It wasn’t as easy as the score indicates,” said Draxler, who turns 20 on Friday. “We needed this lucky shot from Uchida to turn it around. We had to have a lot of patience but in the end it was deserved.”