Souleymane Camara's last-minute equaliser gave ten-man Montpellier Hérault SC a maiden UEFA Champions League Group B point in a dramatic draw at FC Schalke 04.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt had said last Friday's 2-2 Bundesliga draw at Fortuna Düsseldorf, in which his team squandered a two-goal lead, felt "like a 5-0 defeat". Heldt will have a similar feeling after seeing the hosts come from behind to lead before being denied a second successive group win with seconds left.
Karim Aït-Fana's sublime 13th-minute opener for Montpellier had been overturned by Julian Draxler in the first half and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's penalty early in the second, the spot kick following Garry Bocaly's dismissal. The crowd was silenced, however, when Camara steered home with seconds remaining to get the French champions off the mark in the section.
René Girard's pre-match message was that his side would not simply settle for living up to the Olympic spirit, and the visitors' bullishly laid-out starting XI suggested merely taking part was not on the agenda. Girard no doubt gave a nod of approval when Rémy Cabella danced across field before finding Aït-Fana, whose curling shot brushed Lars Unnerstall's fingertips en route to the top corner.
Schalke had never previously lost at home to French opposition in European competition, and seemed to take Montpellier's goal as an affront. Draxler's movement had already twice found the MHSC defence wanting, and when the prodigiously gifted teenager burst beyond the back four a third time to connect with Huntelaar's pass, he skipped round Geoffrey Jourdren to register a first UEFA Champions League goal.
Jourdren was troubled by a Teemu Pukki drive he did well to turn aside in the opening throes of the second half, and then blocked when Benedikt Höwedes stabbed goalward from close range. He might well have halted Draxler's mesmerising run after the Schalke midfielder had somehow weaved past two defenders, but Bocaly's foul meant Jourdren never got the chance.
Bocaly was red-carded and Draxler left the pitch on a stretcher. Huntelaar, who had missed from the spot in the opening group victory against Olympiacos FC, betrayed no nerves as he smashed home his penalty.
The Netherlands striker would have added another had his crisp volley not arrowed straight at Jourdren, who then spectacularly turned away Ibrahim Afellay's measured effort. Huntelaar somehow missed when Jefferson Farfán's cross left him with only Jourdren to beat, and the Dutchman and his team were soon harbouring regrets as Jonathan Tinhan's persistence allowed the ball to find its way to Camara, whose low shot curled into the corner to deflate Schalke.