Monchengladbach, March 17 (IANS) Schalke beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 (3-3 on aggregate) on away goals in the pre-quarterfinal tie of the Europa League football championship here.
Borussia Monchengladbach were on Thursday unable to protect a two-goal lead as second-half goals from Schalke’s Leon Goretzka and Nabil Bentaleb paved the way to the quarter-finals, reports Xinhua news agency.
The first leg of the tie had ended 1-1.
Monchengladbach grabbed a promising start into the game as Raffael’s build-up play almost allowed Josip Drimic to open the scoring.
However, the unmarked striker failed to head home from eight metres with 18 minutes played.
Raffael remained in the thick of things as he unleashed a left-footed hammer from 19 metres, which missed the target in the 22nd minute.
The hosts’ efforts finally paid off 26 minutes into the encounter as Andreas Christensen utilised a flicked on free kick to slot home with a deflected shot from the near post corner.
Monchengladbach kept it bowling and punished Schalke just before the break as Mahmoud Dahoud completed a counter-attack after drilling the ball from 23 metres into the top left corner.
Schalke remained unimpressed and responded after the restart as Goretzka’s long-range effort bounced over Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer to reduce the arrears to 1-2 in the 54th minute.
Schalke gained momentum while things went from bad to worse for the hosts in the 68th minute when referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the visitors a controversial handball. Bentaleb stepped up and levelled the scores from the penalty spot.
Monchengladbach pressed frenetically as they needed a win to advance to the next round. Nevertheless, Schalke were able protect the 2-2 draw as Monchengladbach lacked in accuracy in the closing period.
“We had the will and bounced back. We rewarded ourselves with the 2-2 draw and believed in us. That’s why we progressed today,” Schalke head coach Markus Weinzierl said.
Monchengladbach head coach Dieter Hecking was sour about the result of the match.
“We unfortunately crashed out of this competition. It is disappointing but we have to accept the defeat. It wasn’t a handball penalty from my perspective.”