(Bundesliga) Royal Blues rejoice with late strike

Sports | 16 Apr 2018 1:56 pm

Schalke beat rival Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Ruhr derby yesterday to consolidate second place in the Bundesliga and take a giant step toward guaranteeing a Champions League spot.

Second-half goals from Yevhen Konoplyanka and Naldo gave Schalke an eight-point cushion over fifth-place Leipzig with four rounds remaining.

The top four in Germany qualify for the Champions League.

"It’s something special. A derby win at this point in the season is a highlight,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said.

Coach Domenico Tedesco celebrated with fans in the stands.

Dortmund’s first derby defeat since September 2014 dropped the side to fourth, below Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference. Dortmund are four points behind Schalke and four ahead of Leipzig, held to a 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen in the late game.

Schalke looked more likely to score in the first half, though Dortmund’s Marco Reus went closest when he drew a good save from Ralf Faehrmann with a free kick.

Konoplyanka broke the deadlock five minutes after the break after a mistake from Marcel Schmelzer. The Dortmund captain lost the ball to Daniel Caligiuri, who surged forward and found the unmarked Konoplyanka to pick his spot and blast inside the left post.

Dortmund looked labored as it sought a response against the home side’s well-organized defense, and Naldo settled the result late with an indirect free kick. Marco Pjaca tipped the ball to Caligiuri, who stopped it for Naldo. The defender hammered the ball past Dortmund’s ineffective wall and inside the left post again.-AP

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