Fighting hard and digging in: Performance against Porto gives S04 new confidence

The Royal Blues earned a point in their Champions League opening against FC Porto after a competitive and convincing performance. Breel Embolo scored as S04 drew 1-1 in the VELTINS-Arena, Otavio scoring a equaliser from the penalty spot for the visitors. However, the decision to award the penalty by the Spanish referee was questionable.

Ralf Fährmann: It was brutal

For just a moment, Schalke fans had flashbacks to their last 16 second leg fixture in Porto eight years ago. When Alex Telles stepped up to take the 13th minute penalty last night, given for an unlucky Naldo handball, Schalke’s goalkeeper once again was there to deny the Portuguese side with a smart save. On this occasion, it was Ralf Fährmann in goal rather than Manuel Neuer. “Of course, this gives the team a boost,” said the S04 captain who said the team’s performance was more important than his penalty save. According to Fährmann, who saved his third penalty in a row, the Royal Blues had stuck to their game plan from the very first minute and were playing well.

Fährmann was unable to anything about the fourth penalty given against Schalke already this season as Otavio made the most of a questionable decision by Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano to equalise for Porto just eleven minutes after Breel Embolo had given Schalke the lead (67’).  “It was brutal,” said Fährmann, who doesn’t blame the referee for the ultimately disappointing result having led the match. “It is typical of our current situation. We haven’t been blessed with luck lately.”

The team fought hard and gave everything to get a point. Anything more is virtually impossible.

Christian Heidel

Sporting director Christian Heindel is less sympathetic about the penalty decision compared with Schalke’s number one. “I’ve probably re-watched the build up to the second penalty ten times and still don’t understand how it is a penalty,” said Heindel who consistenly praises the team’s performance. “The team fought hard and gave everything to get a point. Anything more is virtually impossible.”

Domenico Tedesco: We are making progress

After three consecutive Bundesliga defeats to start the season, S04 played their best football so far against the Portuguese champions. Head coach Domenico Tedesco is “a bit disappointed” at only earning a point for their efforts but is taking the positives out of the performance. “I think we played well from the very start of the match. We pressed, counterpressed, had a high mentality and showed a desire for the second ball. We kept trying to play the ball in behind to threaten their goal,” said the 33 year-old, who believes his team are making progress.

Naldo, who gave away both penalties, had very similar thoughts about the match. “This performance shows that we have been able to build on last season. We have proven our strong morale and we fought well against strong opponents. The whole team worked well together defensively,” said the 36 year-old defender, who is already looking forward to their next Bundesliga match on Saturday against the Bundesliga champions and current leaders. “We have to show exactly that against Bayern Munich on Saturday. It was a performance that gives us confidence.”

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