Nani gave the visitors an early lead, but goals from Chinedu Obasi, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Benedikt Höwedes put Roberto Di Matteo’s side 3-1 ahead after Mauricio had been sent off for the visitors. Adrien Silva’s brace looked to have earned Sporting a share of the spoils, but Choupo-Moting’s spot-kick secured a first Champions League win of the season for the Royal Blues.
Sporting strike first
Having drawn their first two matches in Europe’s premier club competition this term, Schalke knew that victory over Group G’s bottom side could prove pivotal in their quest to reach the knockout stages for a third successive season. It was Sporting who went closest to breaking the deadlock early on, though, Manchester United FC loanee Nani curling an effort just wide of Ralf Fährmann’s left-hand post.
The Portuguese international did open the scoring with a quarter of an hour gone, latching onto a low corner from the right to fire past the unsighted Fährmann. However, after Sporting defender Mauricio had been dismissed for a second bookable offence on 33 minutes, Obasi, named in the starting line-up in place of Choupo-Moting, restored parity with a header which visiting keeper Rui Patricio was unable to keep out.
Choupo-Moting the hero
Di Matteo replaced Kevin-Prince Boateng with Choupo-Moting at half-time as the former Chelsea FC coach looked to press home his side’s one-man advantage, but it was Huntelaar who put die Knappen ahead five minutes into the second half with a fine finish from Obasi’s pass. Schalke’s World Cup winning captain Höwedes then made it 3-1 ten minutes later with a precise header from Kaan Ayhan’s free-kick.
Schalke looked home and dry at this stage, but Silva reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after Ayhan had brought down Carrillo inside the box, and the 25-year-old doubled his personal tally for the evening with a 78th-minute header. Choupo-Moting had the last laugh, however, converting a stoppage-time penalty after the referee had spotted a hand ball inside the area.
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Ayhan, Aogo - Neustädter, Höger - Obasi (Meyer 64'), Boateng (Choupo-Moting 46'), Draxler (Sam 82') - Huntelaar
Sporting: Patricio - Soares, Oliveira, Mauricio, Silva - Carvalho - Mario (Sarr 38'), Silva - Nani, Carrillo (Capel 89') - Slimani (Montero 25')
Goals: 0-1 Nani (16'), 1-1 Obasi (34'), 2-1 Huntelaar (50'), 3-1 Höwedes (60'), 3-2 Silva (64'), 3-3 Silva (78'), 4-3 Choupo-Moting (P, 90')
Red card: Mauricio (33')