Pjaca scores debut goal in 2-1 win over Genk
The Schalke 04 training camp in Benidorm was brought to a close with a 2-1 win over KRC Genk. In Sunday’s clash with the Belgian side, new signing Marko Pjaca made his club debut, with the Croat even marking his first appearance with a goal. Breel Embolo also got on the scoresheet.
In front of around 800 spectators, head coach Domenico Tedesco was once again able to use Nabil Bentaleb. The Algerian, who has only made eight appearances so far this season due to a pubic bone inflammation, featured in a starting XI that also included Bernard Tekpetey; the Ghana international ended his loan spell with SCR Altach a few days ago and is now part of the Royal Blues’ squad again.
Schalke dominated the opening phases and put last year’s Europa League quarter-finalists under a lot of early pressure. The best chance to put the team in front fell to Guido Burgstaller 22 minutes in. However, the Austrian’s shot from close range was saved, courtesy of the sharp reactions of Genk keeper Nordin Jackers.
Good chances also fell to Franco di Santo and Alessandro Schöpf, but both narrowly missed the target. The Belgians, on the other hand, rarely threatened the Schalke goal, as Naldo and his fellow defenders kept them at bay. Consequently, Ralph Fährmann was hardly tested.
At the start of the second half, Domenico Tedesco made nine changes, including the introduction of Marko Pjaca. Meanwhile, the wait for new signing from Nürnberg Cedric Teuchert’s debut goes on, as he was unable to play due to a high temperature.
The Royal Blues began the second half with renewed vigour, and had two good chances through Daniel Caligiuri and Bastian Oczipka in the first 60 seconds. Shortly afterwards, the ball finally found its way into the back of the Belgians’ net, as Marko Pjaca, assisted by Max Meyer, bagged a debut goal in the 49th minute, finishing smartly from 12 yards out.
Unlike in the first half, KRC started to really push for a goal of their own. The Belgians attacked and started shifting through their attacking gears, although their moves often broke down. Nikolaos Karelis tested Alexander Nübel in the 59th minute from ten yards out, but couldn’t beat the Germany U21 goalkeeper. At the other end, Breel Embolo did succeed in making it 2-0 with just ten minutes left to play, sending the ball home after a brilliant pass from Amine Harit. Genk did have the final say however, with Nikolaos Karelis grabbing a late consolation goal.
Schalke: Fährmann (46′ Nübel) – Kehrer (46′ Stambouli), Naldo (46′ McKennie), Nastasic (62′ Dragon) – Bentaleb (46′ Meyer) – Tekpetey (46′ Caligiuri), Schöpf (46′ Harit), Konoplyanka (46′ Pjaca), Oczipka (62′ Czyborra) – Di Santo (46′ Reese/78′ Krüger), Burgstaller (46′ Embolo)
Genk: Jackers (46′ Coucke) – Maehle (46′ Lathouwers), Dewaest (46′ Aidoo), Brabec (46′ Colley), Nastic (46′ Khammas) – Reyners (46′ Sabak), Wouters (46′ Zebli), Pozuelo (46′ Malinovskyi) – Benson (46′ Buffel), Ingvartsen (46′ Karelis), Zhegrova (46′ Bertaccini)
Goals: 1-0 Pjaca (49′), 2-0 Embolo (80′), 2-1 Karelis (88′)
Referee: Campo Hernandez (Spain)