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Thursday, September 29, 2005 

Schalke 2-2 Milan (CL)

Strikes from Søren Larsen and Hamit Altintop enabled FC Schalke 04 to come from behind twice and cancel out AC Milan goals from Clarence Seedorf and Andriy Shevchenko in a pulsating 2-2 draw in UEFA Champions League Group E.

Early excitement
The game got off to a blistering start with Seedorf opening the scoring and Larsen equalising in three furious minutes. Both sides were evenly matched after that but the drama unfolded again after the break when substitute Altintop annulled Shevchenko's header with an arcing effort from distance.

Schalke unchanged
Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick looked to the same eleven that defeated Hannover 96 2-0 on Saturday, leaving captain Ebbe Sand, who has recovered from a back injury, on the bench. Rangnick's opposite number Carlo Ancelotti made two changes to the team that scored two unanswered goals against Treviso FC on Sunday. Cafu returned at right-back for Jaap Stam with Kakha Kaladze replacing Serginho on the other flank.

Seedorf strike
The tie could not have begun in more disappointing fashion for Schalke and their experienced goalkeeper Frank Rost. With 25 seconds on the clock, Alberto Gildardino found Seedorf in space and the Dutch international immediately released a low, curling shot from 23 metres to beat Rost, who let the ball slip under the palm of his hand.

Larsen equaliser
It was the third-fastest goal in Champions League history, but Schalke seemed unfazed and quickly regrouped to bounce back. Kevin Kuranyi flicked into the path of Lincoln and the Brazilian saw his strike deflect off Alessandro Nesta and fall kindly for Larsen, who was left with an easy header to beat Dida and level matters.

Further chancesB
oth sides continued to look lively and the visitors came close to renewing their advantage on ten minutes. Kaká's free-kick found Paolo Maldini but his header went wide of the target and dropped just beyond the reach of Shevchenko's desperate lunge. Schalke countered immediately but Kuranyi's aim too was slightly askew.

Lincoln effort
The 23-year-old striker was the hosts' most potent outlet and almost scored after showing excellent control 12 minutes from half-time, but he fired wide and Lincoln could do no better with a free-kick four minutes later. It had been a lively first half and neither coach saw any reason to make changes at the interval - though the opening minutes of the second period tailed off significantly.

Shevchenko header
Schalke often overdid the trickery when attacking, while Milan seemed reluctant to threaten the home defence until their second goal arrived on 59 minutes. Maldini exploited space on the left wing and delivered a right-footed cross for Shevchenko, who beat Rost with a powerful header.

Altintop impact
With his team trailing again, Rangnick decided to make his first change, introducing Altintop for Fabian Ernst in midfield. And the Turkish international made a rapid impact, taking just two minutes before releasing a blistering shot that left Dida rooted to the spot.

Dida save
After twice coming from behind, Schalke almost stole all three points in the closing stages. Another Larsen header brought the best out of Dida, who turned the Danish international's effort around the post at full stretch, although in truth neither side deserved to lose on a memorable evening.

Source: uefa.com


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