GELSENKIRCHEN - Schalke 04's
Jefferson Farfan went some way to winning over fans who had
labelled him a mercenary by scoring twice to send the team into
the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Only a few months ago the 26-year-old Peruvian, who has had
a rollercoaster relationship with coach Felix Magath, was
desperate to leave the club and was criticised by fans after
arriving late for their winter training camp in Turkey.
After the attacking midfielder struck twice to send Schalke
through with a 3-1 victory over Valencia on Wednesday, and a 4-2
win on aggregate, there were no whistles or jeers from fans who
had previously branded him ungrateful and a mercenary.
"Two goals. That is very good but I am just happy the team
is through, that is the most important thing," Farfan, who has
also had his share of problems with the Peru national team from
which he has been suspended in the past, told reporters.
"I hope I gave our fans something to smile about."
He certainly did when he first cancelled out Ricardo Costa's
lead with a curled free-kick minutes before the break and with
Schalke on the back foot for most of the first half.
His speed down the wing kept causing problems as the German
team looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
Farfan, who joined Schalke in 2008, made sure of their
fourth win in four home games in the competition this season
when he chipped the ball over Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita to
make it 3-1 in stoppage-time after a nervy final few minutes.
"I am proud with how my players outplayed a top quality
national team," coach Magath said. "We showed we are better when
we face top teams."
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