Champions League: Schalke battle for draw in gritty opener | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.09.2018
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Champions League: Schalke battle for draw in gritty opener

Schalke were hoping to find some inspiration in Europe's top club competition, and although they didn't win there was good reason to be satisfied. Their opponents, Porto, were awarded two penalties in Gelsenkirchen.

Schalke 1-1 Porto
(Embolo 64' - Otavio 75' pen.)

Schalke couldn't quite put their poor start to the domestic season behind them as they marked their return to the Champions League after a 1,288-day absence with a draw.

Initially, Schalke looked as short of intent as they have in all three of their Bundesliga games so far this season. Having controlled the opening period, Porto had a chance to take the lead when Naldo handled in the area. Captain Ralf Fährmann made a brilliant fingertip save though, to keep the scores level.

Read more: Freak Pulisic strike gives Dortmund flattering win against Club Brugge

Not even that could shake Schalke into action though, as the visitors continued to enjoy most of the possession and force Domenico Tedesco's charges into plenty of running.

The game turned niggly and half chances were all both sides could manage in the rest of a scrappy first half.

Despite their side not thrilling, the home crowd was rocking, enjoying being back on the big stage. And slowly Schalke worked their way into the game, thanks particularly to the efforts of Weston McKennie and Breel Embolo. Fittingly, it was those two players that combined on a great counterattack to open the scoring for the home side. McKennie broke into space on the right and picked out Embolo across the area, who slid it underneath Casillas and in between the defenders on the line.

Schalke couldn't hold on though, and Naldo's late clip of the foot gave the visitors yet another chance from the spot. This time, Otavio stepped up instead of Alex Telles (who missed earlier) and sent Fährmann the wrong way.

Although Schalke failed to win from a winning position a draw was a fair result and Domenico Tedesco can be pleased with the fight his side showed after a slow start. The hope for Schalke is they'll be able to show more of it against Bayern Munich on the weekend.

Champions League Results:

Group A:

Monaco 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Brugge 0-1 Dortmund

Group B:

Inter Milan 2-1 Tottenham

Barcelona 4-0 PSV

Group C:

Liverpool 3-2 PSG

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Napoli

Group D:

Schalke 1-1 Porto

Galatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

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