Manchester City FC are through to the UEFA Cup Round of 32 with goals from Benjani Mwaruwari and Stephen Ireland capping a well-measured away display.
With Brazilian star Robinho left back in Manchester nursing a minor injury, City put in a controlled performance in Gelsenkirchen. Benjani scored after a quick break in the first half before Ireland gained consolation for an effort ruled offside before the interval with the second goal for Mark Hughes's side, as Schalke were kept well shackled at home. The 2-2 draw between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Real Racing Club ensured City would at worst finish third in the group; Schalke will aim to join them in qualifying with a win at FC Twente next Wednesday.
City set out their stall to keep Schalke at arm's length, and successfully limited their hosts' attacking ambitions. Joe Hart twice denied Jermaine Jones from distance, then Benjani broke the deadlock, putting the ball into an empty net at the far post after Daniel Sturridge's pass across the area cut out two defenders and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at one stroke.
Ireland thought he had got a second when he deflected a Benjani shot into the net, yet he was rightly judged to be offside. However, the Premier League team continued to sparkle on the counterattack after half-time, with Neuer parrying Shaun Wright-Phillips's strike before Ireland made it 2-0 on 66 minutes. The midfielder exchanged passes with Benjani before a kind deflection left him free to stroke the ball under Neuer as he raced off his line.
With City seemingly distracted, Schalke then had their best spell of the match. Richard Dunne did well to force Christian Pander's attempt wide before Halil Altıntop produced a disappointing strike when well-placed. However, Fred Rutten's side received proof that this was not to be their night as Hart made a great reaction save to block Gerald Asamoah's header from a Pander free-kick.