Raul brace helps struggling Schalke 04 beat St Pauli
Gelsenkirchen (Germany) : Spanish striker Raul scored a brace as struggling Bundesliga club Schalke 04 achieved only their second league victory of the season when they beat St Pauli 3-0.
Raul scored in each half, while Dutch international Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored the other for a victory that - at least momentarily - lifted last season`s runners-up to 15th in the table and out of the relegation zone here Friday.
Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder, who celebrated his 30th birthday, said he thought the victory was very important. `That was good for our points total, good for our confidence and good for the Schalke soul. It was a good evening.`
Raul, who was earlier in the week criticized by Schalke coach Felix Magath for not being dangerous enough in front of goal, could have given his side the lead in the 11th minute when his header went just over the bar.
Three minutes later the former Real Madrid player had the ball in the back of the net though after Huntelaar failed to connect with an Atsuto Uchida cross and the Spaniard managed to push the ball over the line from close range.
Raul received praise from Huntelaar. `I think he showed today that he is very dangerous in front of goals.`
Deniz Naki had a good opportunity to equalize for the visitors five minutes from the break, but shot wide from seven metres. Just a few minutes later Dennis Daube came close again for the visitors with a direct free-kick.
Eight minutes after the restart Schalke extended their lead when Huntelaar`s header, after a Jefferson Farfan corner, beat St Pauli goalkeeper Thomas Kessler.
St Pauli then came back into the game, but it was Raul that put the matter beyond doubt with only his third league goal of the season in the 81st minute from a Lukas Schmitz cross.
Kessler was disappointed with the game. `We were not promoted into the Bundesliga to simply play. We want to compete and we need to now get over this and concentrate on our next match.`
Schalke now have nine points from their 11 games, while St Pauli are in 13th place on 13 points.
Table topping Borussia Dortmund are away to Hanover on Sunday, while Mainz 05, who are one point behind on 24 points, face SC Freiburg Saturday, knowing that a victory will equal the Bundesliga record of winning the opening five away matches.