McKennie hits late Schalke winner at Lokomotiv

Weston McKennie scored Schalke’s winning goal in the 88th minute. (AFP pic)

MOSCOW: American international midfielder Weston McKennie hit an 88th-minute winner as struggling Schalke 04 edged Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 in their Champions League Group D clash on Wednesday.

Schalke, runners-up in the Bundesliga last season, are currently second from bottom in Germany and were on course for another frustrating night in rain-lashed Moscow.

“It was a very difficult match also because it was an away game for us,” Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco said.

“Lokomotiv are tough opponents. They gave us a lot of problems especially at the end of the first half, when we obviously experienced difficulties.”

“Luckily, we managed to improve the situation drastically in the second half.”

McKennie, who spent part of his childhood in Germany where his father was serving in the US military, broke the deadlock with two minutes left when he headed in a corner from Yevhen Konoplyanka.

“In the last minutes, I had a feeling that us scoring a goal was only a matter of time,” Tedesco added.

Russian champions Lokomotiv lost their group opener 3-0 at Galatasaray and were hoping to bounce back in their first home Champions League game in 14 years.

In front of a 15,000-strong crowd, Lokomotiv’s only meaningful chance in the opening half came in the 27th minute when a shot from the edge of the box by Dmitri Barinov forced goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann into a diving save.

Daniel Caligiuri then prevented Bryan Idowu’s effort on the rebound.