These two sides treated the world to a thrilling game of football in their last Champions League outing and after some late controversy that lead to Sporting’s defeat, the home side were out for revenge. Schalke were looking to continue their good Champions League start.
Early in the game there was a nervous moment for Schalke when a long ball forward found Sporting’s Islam Slimani and after cutting inside Roman Neustädter was able to poke the ball back to Ralf Fährmann, the keeper however smashed his clearance straight at Slimani and luckily it bounced out away from goal and out wide to Luís Nani.
Schalke had a chance of their own when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting played a lovely chipped ball through to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, after opting not to shoot he then failed to pick out a team-mate with his cross. Had the Dutchman picked his head up quicker he would’ve found a free Max Meyer.
Another half chance came Sporting’s way when João Mário broke down the right, he did well to pick out Nani who was arriving in the area, however the cross didn’t get the finish it needed as Nani skied it well over and well wide.
Schalke weren’t happy with the referee when he allowed play to continue after Meyer was elbowed by Adrien Silva, there was no intention from the Sporting man. Paolo Tagliavento didn’t like Huntelaar’s anger towards him and issued the first booking of the game.
Moments after the elbow Meyer was in the wars again as Mouhamado-Naby Sarr took him out from behind, the youngster certainly getting some rough treatment at the start of the game. From that freekick Schalke took the lead, Dennis Aogo’s freekick was very well delivered, Slimani challenged with Choupo-Moting and after the Schalke man missed the ball it flew into the top corner off the head of Slimani.
Schalke started to look comfortable in the game and then it all went wrong nine minutes after taking the lead. Nani won a freekick in a great position and a terrific delivery from Jefferson saw Sarr burst towards the six yard box and head past Fährmann.
The equaliser gave the home side a huge boost and they were now the team on top. William Carvalho charged forward and played a one-two with Slimani before going on to fire at goal, sadly for the home side he couldn’t give Sporting the lead as the effort was straight at Fährmann.
Sporting were fortunate on the half hour mark, a corner saw Chinedu Obasi and Jefferson jump at the near post and the corner was directed wide of the post thanks to Jefferson’s hand, despite Schalke’s penalty appeals the referee wasn’t interested. Soon after Schalke should’ve regained the lead, a lovely move deserved to see the ball finish off in the back of the net, but it wasn’t to be. A long ball picked out Atsuto Uchida, who played a one-two with Obasi, the right-back then managed to pick out Huntelaar, after setting the ball to Meyer the youngster fired over.
The home side finished the half very strongly and were well on top, João Mário and Slimani in particular were looking dangerous. Firstly Fährmann was forced into action when Nani shot from range, Slimani picked up the rebound but couldn’t find a team-mate. Moments later the Schalke number one had to adjust and save with his right leg to deny João Mário, he was played through by Carlos Mané and João Mário came close to getting Sporting a second. Another promising attack saw Nani come inside and play a one-two with Slimani and rather than having a go at goal he cut the ball back and picked out Mané, however the 20-year-old could only head wide.
The opening of the second half was evenly contested with Schalke edging possession and it wasn’t long till we saw another goal, this one though was one to admire. Seven minutes into the half Nani picked the ball up out on the left and with two players around him Jefferson was left all alone just outside the area, Nani picked him out and the Brazilian full-back rolled the ball forward and fired a stunning shot low and into the bottom right corner.
Schalke had another penalty claim just past the hour mark, Meyer was through on goal and as he entered the area he went down, at first viewing it looked like a penalty, however with a second viewing it looked like he went down due to the pitch. Schalke should’ve equaliser when the ball came to Obasi eight yards out, Rui Patrício came out and managed to claim the ball as the Schalke man tried taking the keeper on.
Just before the game entered into the last fifteen minutes Sporting increased their advantage. Substitute André Carrillo breezed past Christian Fuchs to leave him for dead, after charging into the area he did well to play the ball across goal and pick out Manchester United loanee Nani, who had an easy tap in.
Five minutes from time Schalke’s Choupo-Moting headed into the path of Kevin-Prince Boateng, he then returned the ball with a back-heel and with heavy pressure from Sporting’s defender’s Choupo-Moting could only poke the ball wide. In the 88th minute Schalke managed to get a goal back to set up a nervy finish, Boateng’s looping pass found Aogo, who charged forward from left back, he was able to bring the ball down and smash his shot past Rui Patrício after getting past two defenders.
Unfortunately for the Germans and comeback was soon off the cards as Slimani denied the comeback after beating Neustader in the race to Oriol Rosell’s ball forward he calmly slotted his shot past Fährmann. This was the Algerian’s first Champions League goal.
In a highly entertaining game Sporting turned on the style and deservedly got their revenge. Disappointing performance for the Germans as they failed to create enough chances and they struggled to deal with Nani, Slimani and co. Schalke stay in second place with five points and with that win Sporting jump off the bottom and into third place and only a point behind Schalke. Up next for Schalke they host the group leaders Chelsea as Roberto Di Matteo comes up against his former side, Sporting have another home game next as they face Maribor, who managed a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
Article for VAVEL.