Rakitic earns Schalke a draw at Stuttgart
Posted August 11, 2007on:
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN (Reuters) – Schalke 04 drew 2-2 at champions VfB Stuttgart in the opening match of the Bundesliga season on Friday.
Croatian 19-year-old midfielder Ivan Rakitic beat three defenders with a fine move to score the equaliser from long range for last season’s runners-up after Stuttgart had scored two goals in four minutes midway through the second half.
Mexico midfielder Pavel Pardo converted a penalty in the 67th minute after team mate Sami Khedira had notched Stuttgart’s first goal.
In an high-tempo match between Germany’s two Champions League qualifiers, Schalke went in front against the run of play in the 25th minute when a Levan Kobiashvili shot was deflected by Roberto Hilbert past his own goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer.
Stuttgart, who won their last eight matches at the end of last season to pip Schalke, kept the pressure on Schalke after falling behind but it was the visitors who had got closer to the goal, twice nearly doubling their lead.
Christian Pander’s free kick sailed just wide to the right in the 54th minute and three minutes later Schaefer made a fantastic save to deny Fabian Ernst, who broke free on the left to get a foot to a low cross.
Schalke paid the price when Stuttgart, cheered on by the sell-out crowd of 57,500, then scored twice.
But Rakitic, who came on in the 70th minute for Kobiashvili, saved the point for Schalke with his late equaliser.
“If we had only got that second goal everything would have been different,” said Schalke coach Mirko Slomka.
“Stuttgart have a great team. I’m delighted the season got off to such a great start. As far as I’m concerned that can keep going.”
Stuttgart coach Armin Veh, whose team had struggled in the pre-season but were impressive on Friday, was less content with the result than he was with the performance.
“We played well even though the pitch was difficult,” he said. “I’m not at all pleased with the result because we controlled much of the match.”