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Meyer takes Schalke into last 16 again

NK Maribor 0-1 FC Schalke 04
A second-half goal from Max Meyer meant the visitors claimed second place in Group G and a round of 16 berth for the third year running.

Schalke delight at last-16 spot

Schalke snatch second place in Group G with narrow win at Maribor
Substitute Max Meyer scores only goal (62)
Home side beaten despite disciplined defensive effort 
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar also hits post for visitors
Round of 16 draw takes place in Nyon at 12.00CET on 15 December

FC Schalke 04 reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the third year in a row after substitute Max Meyer scored the only goal at NK Maribor to give the German side second place in Group G.

Needing to win and hope Sporting Clube de Portugal – who began the evening in the runners-up spot – lost at section winners Chelsea FC, Schalke suffered a frustrating first hour as Maribor's displined defensive display held them at bay. Meyer then pounced on a slip from goalkeeper Jasmin Handanović, however, to take Schalke through once again.

The visitors looked to dominate from the outset, but Maribor's defensive organisation was such that clear chances were few and far between, apart from a Tranquillo Barnetta shot wide early on. 

Maribor, on the other hand, were quick to break, Agim Ibraimi volleying over before Tavares tested Ralf Fährmann from 20 metres. Although Barnetta headed Marco Höger's fine cross wide, the main openings were coming at the other end and Maribor so nearly look the lead midway through the opening period.

It took a double goal-line clearance from Atsuto Uchida to keep the scoresheet blank, the defender denying Željko Filipović and Tavares to ensure the teams went in for half-time all square.

That enabled Schalke to take a grip of the game after the interval, with Maribor given less and less space – although Tavares did send one attempt wide from inside the area. The Bundesliga side were carrying the greater threat now though, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bursting into the box and beating Handanović; the post came to the keeper's rescue.

Schalke kept the pressure up and there was no escape for Maribor in the 62nd minute. Höger's right-wing cross was palmed out only as far as Meyer – who had come on six minutes before – and the 19-year-old slotted in.

Roberto Di Matteo's men opted not to sit on their advantage, Dennis Aogo testing Handanović in the 70th minute as Schalke sought to give themselves a cushion. The second goal was not forthcoming, but Sporting's 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge meant one was enough.