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Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 1-1 Schalke

5 August 2017

Palace’s extended their pre-season unbeaten run to three matches as they claimed a 1-1 draw against Schalke in Frank de Boer’s first game in the Selhurst dugout.

The Eagles trailed at the break when Pablo Insua netted just before half-time but Christian Benteke equalised on the hour mark with a header to keep the momentum building ahead of next week’s Premier League’s opener against Huddersfield Town.

The game was just two minutes old when Andros Townsend cut inside from the right and zipped a shot goalwards on his left foot but Ralf Fahrmann produced an overly-dramatic save to tip the ball over, and in a similar move 20 minutes later the same player fired straight at the German stopper as the hosts began the brighter.

Opportunities were few and far between in the first half, however Palace were handed a huge let-off after 27 minutes when Scott Dann played a pass back to Julian Speroni who struck his clearance straight at the charging Amine Harit and the ball spun goalwards, but the Eagles’ record appearance holder breathed a sigh of relief as he watched the ball flashed just wide.

He atoned for that error soon after when Thilo Kehrer aimed for the bottom corner from 20 yards out with an effort that skidded along the Selhurst turf but Speroni managed to push it around his post, but the British summer time showed its unpredictability as bright skies quickly gave way to a heavy rain shower that the players had to battle their way through until half-time.  

It seemed as though Palace were going to be the more likely to go into it ahead and nearly did so when Wilfried Zaha blasted at Fahrmann, but against the run of player the visitors grabbed the opening goal a minute before the break.

Driving forward through the rain, Bastian Oczipka whipped a cross in from the left and summer signing Insua got his head to it to transfer it back across goal, and despite getting a hand to it, Speroni couldn’t prevent it creeping into his net and handing Die Kanppen the half-time advantage.

It could have been worse for De Boer’s side as five minutes after the restart Weston McKennie clipped a lofted pass into the path of Nabil Bentaleb who volleyed over from just inside the box when the target was begging to be hit, and last season’s top scorer Guido Burgstaller then blasted an attempt wide as Schalke pressed for a second.

But just after the hour mark, the Eagles managed to get on the scoresheet themselves. Patrick van Aanholt slipped in Zaha who raced past Coke and crossed, and Fahrmann’s attempted punch was too weak and fell perfectly for Benteke to simply nod the ball into the empty net to equalise.

Having grabbed his first goal of pre-season, the Belgian could have doubled his tally with six minutes of the game remaining when Van Aanholt again threaded a pass through for the striker to race onto, but when he went one-on-one with Fahrmann the goalkeeper stayed big and blocked the effort, and ensured the spoils were shared.

Palace: Speroni, Milivojevic, Dann, Reidewald (Tomkins 81), Townsend (Ward 70), Puncheon, Loftus-Cheek, Van Aanholt, Zaha, Lokilo (Lee 79), Benteke. Subs not used: Hennessey, Schlupp, Husin, Ladapo.

Schalke: Fahrmann, Kehrer (Howedes 46), Stambouli (Goretzka 60), Naldo (Geis 60), Insua, Caligiuri, Bentaleb, Oczipka (Coke 60), Harit (Meyer 60), Burgstaller, Reece (McKinnie 46). Sub not used: Nubel.

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