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Shcalke played very well, says coach saluting keeper

Schalke coach salutes keeper after winning Champions League group following a 1-1 draw at Montpellier

Reuters, Wednesday 5 Dec 2012
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Huub Stevens's Schalke 04 finished as Champions League Group B winners after recording a 1-1 draw at rock bottom Montpellier on Tuesday.

The Germans, who were assured of their passage into the last 16 before kickoff, opened the scoring through defender Benedikt Hoewedes 11 minutes into the second half but Emanuel Herrera equalised three minutes later.

Schalke ended with 12 points from six games, two points ahead of second-placed Arsenal who lost 2-1 at Olympiakos Piraeus.

"I think we played very well," coach Stevens told reporters. "We had the better opportunities in the first half and in the second it was an up-and-down game.

"Montpellier certainly had the chance to win the game but (goalkeeper) Timo Hildebrand kept us in it on a number of occasions."

French side Montpellier finished with two points, seven behind Olympiakos who qualified for the Europa League.

The hosts pressurised Schalke from the start although the visitors also looked sharp on the break.

Schalke went close in the 15th minute but keeper Jonathan Ligali was quick to dive at Julian Draxler's feet following a neat through ball from Roman Neustaedter.

Ten minutes later Teemu Pukki fluffled a close-range sitter from a centre by Draxler.

The dangerous Draxler then whipped another perfect cross into the path of Ciprian Marica only to see the Romanian fail to control the ball.

Montpellier carved out their best chance seven minutes into the second half.

Hildebrand saved at the feet of Anthony Mounier and Herrera's follow-up was cleared off the line by Atsuto Uchida.

Schalke then grabbed a deserved lead when Hoewedes outjumped defender Vitorino Hilton in the air.

Montpellier striker Herrera had a header cleared off the line by Christoph Metzelder but the Argentine followed up to poke in the equaliser.

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