Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie grabbed an assist on his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, but it was not enough for Domenico Tedesco's men to earn all three points in a 1-1 draw at home to FC Porto in Group D.
Schalke 1-1 Porto
Goals: 1-0 Embolo (64'), 1-1 Otavio (pen. 75')
The Royal Blues, back in the competition for the first time since 2014/15, began brightly by pressing their visitors high up the pitch but it was nevertheless Porto who had the first opportunity to score when a penalty was awarded in the 13th minute for a handball by Naldo. Schalke captain Ralf Fährmann pulled off a vital save from Alex Telles, though, diving low to his left to keep the spot-kick out. There were no further clear-cut openings prior to the half-time whistle, the play concentrated into a packed midfield third.
If the first half was a cagey affair, the second was quite the opposite as both teams ramped up the pace in a bid to gain the upper hand. Schalke drew first blood, launching a counter-attack in their own penalty area that finished with McKennie setting up Breel Embolo to tap in from close range. Just as it looked as if the hosts were on course for a valuable victory, however, Porto were awarded another penalty and this time Otavio made no mistake from 12 yards. It sparked a thrilling finale as the teams went in desperate search of a winner, but although Schalke dominated the closing stages they could not find the net again.
- McKennie became the seventh American to play in the Champions League for a Bundesliga club, after Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke), Landon Donovan (Leverkusen), Julian Green (Bayern Munich) and Jovan Kirovski (a winner with Dortmund in 1997).
- This is Schalke's first Champions League group campaign since 2014/15, and first in Europe since they were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Ajax in the 2016/17 quarter-finals.
- Schalke had won all five of their previous home games against Portuguese opposition. Their overall record against Porto is now W2, D3, L1.
- Porto beat Monaco to lift the 2004 Champions League at Schalke's home stadium.
- The Portuguese side had lost their previous three consecutive away games against Bundesliga opposition, most recently going down 3-2 to RB Leipzig in the 2017/18 group stage.
- Porto's Riechedly Bazoer played in the same Wolfsburg team as Schalke's Daniel Caligiuri during the second half of the 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign.
Schalke: Fährmann (c) - Sane, Naldo, Nastasic - Caligiuri, McKennie, Serdar (Harit 84'), Bentaleb, Schöpf - Embolo (Burgstaller 71'), Uth (Konoplyanka 65')
Unused subs: Nübel, Mendyl, Di Santo, Rudy
Absentees: Oczipka (hernia), Riether (knee), Stambouli (ankle)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Porto: Casillas - Pereira, Felipe, Militao, Telles - Otavio (Hernani 90'), Herrera (c), Oliveira, Brahimi (Oliveira 82') - Marega, Aboubakar (Corona 60')
Unused subs: Vana, Chidozie, , Óliver, Adrian
Absentees: Pereira (muscle), Soares (groin)
Coach: Sergio Conceicao