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AEK Larnaca make their point at Schalke

FC Schalke 04 0-0 AEK Larnaca FC
Beaten 5-0 by the same opponents on home soil, the visitors put in a much  improved display to keep their slim Group J hopes alive.

There was nothing to choose between Schalke and AEK Larnaca in Gelsenkirchen
There was nothing to choose between Schalke and AEK Larnaca in Gelsenkirchen ©Getty Images

FC Schalke 04 had to settle for a goalless draw against an AEK Larnaca FC side who turned in a much improved display following their 5-0 loss to the same opponents on matchday three.

The hosts dominated in terms of possession and territory in the first half, but AEK grew into the game as it progressed. Indeed, the visitors fashioned the best chances of the contest, especially in the second half, against a Schalke side who still lead Group J.

In contrast to their first meeting, when Schalke raced into a 3-0 half-time lead, the opening was sedate in Gelsenkirchen. AEK seemed determined not to give up such an advantage this time round and held off bouts of home pressure that did not lead to any meaningful chances. Kyriakos Papadopoulos headed wide, but the first clear sight of goal came at the other end when Njongo Priso blazed over on the half-hour.

Sunny Kingsley then had an even better opening but was denied by Lars Unnerstall after he tried to round the 21-year-old goalkeeper. Joel Matip tried to raise the tempo for the hosts and his run from deep inside his own half was only halted by a last-ditch Luke Dimech block.

Lewis Holtby entered the fray and nearly made an impact when put in by Jan Morávek, but Marco Fortin came to AEK's rescue. Seconds later, Miljan Mrdaković spurned a near-identical chance as Unnerstall again proved impossible to dribble past.

The best chances were coming AEK's way, and Priso was denied by Unnerstall's double save before the Cameroonian fired wide when well placed. Schalke will hope to confirm their progress against FC Steaua Bucureşti on matchday five when AEK host Maccabi Haifa FC.