Lisbon - FC Schalke 04’s hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout stages remain in the balance after Roberto Di Matteo’s side were beaten 4-2 by Sporting Clube de Portugal on Wednesday evening.

An Islam Slimani own goal put Schalke in front at the Estadio Jose Alvelade, but Sporting equalised soon after courtesy of Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr’s glancing header. Jefferson gave the hosts the lead in spectacular fashion, before Nani extended the Lisbon outfit’s advantage with 17 minutes remaining. Dennis Aogo pulled a goal back, but Slimani struck at the right end in stoppage time to clinch a deserved win for Marco Silva’s charges.

False dawn

The hosts, beaten by a last-gasp Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting penalty when they visited the Veltins Arena on Matchday 3, created the first real opportunity of the match when Carlos Mane’s deep cross found Nani at the far post, but the Manchester United FC loanee could only steer a half-volley over the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box.

It was Schalke though who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, after 17 minutes. Dennis Aogo’s floated free-kick was met by Choupo-Moting, whose header was deflected by Slimani into the top corner. Sporting hit back ten minutes later, however, when Sarr flicked Jefferson’s in-swinging cross past Ralf Fährmann, and Di Matteo’s side had the Schalke custodian to thank for keeping the score level with a string of instinctive saves from Nani, Paulo Oliveira and Joao Mario before the interval.

No way back

Fährmann could do little about Jefferson’s sensational strike six minutes into the second half, though. Nani laid the ball off to the 26-year-old left-back, who took a touch before drilling an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner. Schalke were struggling to regain a foothold in the game but could, and perhaps should, have restored parity when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s flick set up Chinedu Obasi five yards out, but Rio Patricia was on hand quickly to thwart the Nigerian before he could get his shot away.

Nani appeared to have sealed the points for Sporting with a composed finish from substitute Andre Carrillo’s cross, but a fine solo effort from Aogo with two minutes remaining gave Schalke hope of an unlikely comeback. It wasn’t to be, however, as Slimani made up for his earlier own goal with Sporting’s fourth of the night to complete a deserved win for the Portuguese side, who climb to within a point of second-placed Schalke in Group G.


Sporting: Rui Patricio - Soares, Sarr, Oliveira, Jefferson - Carvalho - Nani (Capel 90’), Adrien Silva, Joao Mario (Rosell 83’), Mane (Carrillo 68’) - Slimani

Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Neustädter, Fuchs (Kirchhoff 78’) - Höger, Aogo - Obasi (Sam 70’) Meyer (Boateng 65’), Choupo-Moting - Huntelaar

Goals: 0-1 Choupo-Moting (17’), 1-1 Sarr (26’), 2-1 Jefferson (52’), 3-1 Nani 73’), 3-2 Aogo (87’), 4-2 Slimani (90’)