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FOOTBALL

Schalke headed to Champions League semi-finals

Schalke 04 will face English giants Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Champions League after beating holders Inter Milan 2-1 on Wednesday to knock-out the holders 7-3 on aggregate.

Schalke headed to Champions League semi-finals
Photo: DPA

Having won the quarter-final first-leg 5-2 at Inter’s San Siro stadium last week, the second-leg back in Germany was always going to be a formality.

Spain legend Raul opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time to extend his record Champions League tally to 71 goals while Inter midfielder Thiago Motta levelled minutes after the restart.

Defender Benedikt Höwedes put the matter beyond doubt with a late winner, rubber-stamping Schalke’s first-ever appearance in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club event.

“It was a magnificent victory,” said Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies, who sacked coach Felix Magath last month and replaced him with ex-Hoffenheim handler Ralf Rangnick.

Germany defender Christoph Metzelder, playing with a mask to protect a healing broken nose, said the Bundesliga side are growing in confidence.

“We have seen in the two games just how much potential this team has, we really wanted to win this game outright,” said Metzelder.

Schalke are now set to win just short of €55 million for reaching the last four.

“We’ve produced two great performances,” said Rangnick. “If you only allow the Champions League winners a couple of chances, you know you have played well. Each player worked hard for each other and that was the key to our success.”

Inter came to Gelsenkirchen facing a near-impossible task of needing to score four goals to go through to the semi-finals to face Premier League giants United.

Schalke will host United at their Veltins Arena stadium on April 26 in the first-leg of the semi-final, with the return leg at Old Trafford on May 4.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was in Gelsenkirchen amongst the crowd of 54,000 to watch the Royal Blues’ quarter-final.

The hosts took the lead just before the half-time break when Spanish midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado split the Inter defence with a perfectly-timed pass into the path of compatriot Raul.

The Spain veteran needed no second invitation to round Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar and slot his shot into an empty net.

It was the Spaniard’s 71st Champions League goal, his fifth goal of this European campaign and the 33-year-old’s 18th since joining Schalke from Real at the start of the season.

It put Schalke up 6-2 on aggregate and effectively killed off any flicker of hope the Italians had.

The guests levelled the scores when Motta was left unmarked from a corner and headed home on 49 minutes.

Schalke looked to have regained the lead on the hour mark only for Höwedes’ header to be ruled off-side, but the defender scored the winner when he ran onto a long pass from Raul to drill his shot past Julio Cesar.

AFP/ka

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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