BERLIN (Rahnuma): Schalke rounded off the group stag with a victory after beating Lokomotiv Moscow on Alessandro Schopf’s late winner in Group D on Tuesday.
The “Royal Blues” were already qualified hence head coach Domenico Tedesco fielded a much-changed squad against the visitors from Russia.
As a result, goal-scoring opportunities remained a rare occurrence at the first half. Schalke were able to press Lokomotiv in the defense but the Germans lacked in penetration to score the opener.
The best chance of the first half fell to the visitors but Igor Denisov pulled over the target from promising position in the dying seconds of the first 45 minutes.
After the restart, things developed differently on the pitch as both sides exchanged attacks. Schalke created a couple of chances but neither Yevhen Konoplyanka nor Cedric Teuchert were able to break the deadlock.
Moscow grabbed also a bright start into the second half as Aleksey Miranchuk’s effort forced Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann into action with 53 minutes played.
The hosts had the golden chance to score the opener in the 74th minute but Suat Serdar failed to find the open goal following a square pass from Naldo.
Lokomotiv Moscow needed a victory but they never assumed full risk meanwhile Schalke secured the late victory when Alessandro Schopf benefitted on a rebound from close range to poke home the winner in the closing period.
“We’re really happy with the win. We had a lot of possession the first half, but weren’t good enough in one-on-one situations. We improved that in the second half,” Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco said.
“I don’t think we’ve deserved five defeats in six matches. We didn’t have enough luck in most of those games. Hopefully we’ll be back in the Champions League next season,” Lokomotiv custodian Guilherme Alvim Marinato said.
With the result, FC Porto top Group D followed by FC Schalke, Galatasaray and FC Lokomotic Moscow.