S04 lose in Porto, but go through to the Last 16
FC Schalke 04 fell to a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday evening to FC Porto but still qualified for the Last 16 of the Champions League. Earlier in the day, Galatasaray lost 2-0 to Lokomotiv Moscow which meant that Schalke 04 had already qualified for the Last 16 before they had even kicked off their own game. Winning the group however, is now not possible as FC Porto are not reachable at the top of the table with only one game to go.
Five changes to the starting XI
Domenico Tedesco had to do without the injured Guido Burgstaller against the Portuguese champions. The Austrian was unavailable after picking up an achilles injury. Bastian Oczipka was also unavailable having not been registered for the Champions League. The left-back only made his comeback to the first team four days ago after being out injured for a long time.
Franco Di Santo and Hamza Mendyl came in for the injured duo. There were three more changes to the starting XI that beat FC Nürnberg 5-2 at the weekend with Naldo, Omar Mascarell and Yevhen Konoplyanka all coming in for Salif Sané, Sebastian Rudy and Amine Harit.
Fährmann with two top saves
The opening stages of the game were somewhat uneventful. Both teams looked to get a feel for the opposition before taking any risks, although Schalke were the better team early on. The majority of the game was played in the midfield, where FC Porto slowly began to play the more attractive football. After 15 minutes, the crowd was brought to their feet for the first time, as Danilo forced Schalke’s number one Ralf Fährmann into a quality save with a well-placed shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Just four minutes later, the Royal Blue talisman between the sticks was called upon again. This time, amidst the turmoil in the penalty area, Moussa Marega managed to fire a shot towards the top corner of the goal, but he too met his match in Ralf Fährmann. The goalmouths at both ends remained mostly undisturbed for the rest of the half – the hosts’ defence stood strong, preventing Schalke from getting into their stride in the final third, while at the other end, Tedesco’s back line had Porto under control.
Double strike wins the game for Porto
The second half began without Steven Skrzybski as the attacker had to be taken off due to a shoulder injury at the break. Amine Harit was the man who replaced him. Ralf Fährmann was back in action less than 60 seconds after the turnaround, denying Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera. Minutes later though, Schalke’s captain was finally beaten. Eder Militao headed home Oliver Torres’ cross into the corner to give the hosts the lead.
The reaction from S04 was positive and Yehven Konoplyanka tested Iker Casillas from close range immediately after conceding. But it was Porto who would score the next goal, this time it was Jesus Corona. The winger beat Ralf Fährmann after a one two with Yacine Brahimi, and despite the best efforts of Benjamin Stambouli on the line, Porto were then 2-0 ahead. A third goal almost came five minutes later, but Felipe’s spectacular overhead kick struck the crossbar and came back out again.
The game seemed to die down somewhat after this, although Domenico Tedesco’s team never gave up hope. Nabil Bentaleb got one back for the guests in the 89th minute after Oliver Torres had been penalised for handball. There was still time for Porto to seal the win, as Moussa Marega slotted home a third in added time to complete a 3-1 win.
Tickets still available for the game against Lokomotiv
The final group game will take place on Tuesday, December 11th in the VELTINS-Arena against Lokomotiv Moscow. Tickets are still available for the game with former Schalke players Jefferson Farfan and Benedikt Höwedes.
There are two interesting fixtures to play before that game though. The first is on Saturday against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (18:30 CET), before the Derby at home against Borussia Dortmund (15:30 CET).