MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 21:28:47
Sep 17, 2015 at 8.05pm UK
APOELAPOEL
0-3
SchalkeSchalke 04
FT(HT: 0-2)
Matip (28'), Huntelaar (35', 71')

Result: Schalke cruise past APOEL in opener

A Klaas-Jan Huntelaar brace adds to Joel Matip's opener as Schalke cruise past APOEL Nicosia in their Europa League opener.

A brace from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has led Schalke 04 to a comfortable 3-0 victory over APOEL Nicosia in their first Europa League Group K clash at GSP Stadium.

APOEL, in the group stage after losing their Champions League playoff to Astana, started brightly but it was the visitors who nearly broke the deadlock early on when Max Meyer rattled the crossbar from 25 yards.

Joel Matip should have done better when he headed wide from a corner, before Johannes Geis smashed a shot off the bar from a similar range as Meyer's effort as Schalke began to dominate.

Andre Breitenreiter's side finally got the goal that they deserved just before the half-hour mark when Matip beat goalkeeper Boy Waterman to Geis's free kick to flick a header home for his second goal in as many games.

Schalke 04's Johannes Geis (L) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrate after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between APOEL and Schalke 04 at the GSP Stadium in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on September 17, 2015© Getty Images

That advantage was doubled just seven minutes later as the German side's leading scorer Huntelaar drilled a low shot past Waterman from 30 yards, but only a point-blank stop from Ralf Fahrmann prevented Piero Sotiriou getting APOEL back into the game on the stroke of half time.

Schalke continued in the same vein after the restart and wrapped up the victory with 20 minutes remaining when Huntelaar grabbed his second with a clinical finish from Meyer's pass.

Things got worse for the Cypriot champions when Tomas de Vincenti was sent off with 12 minutes remaining, but by then the damage had already been done as Schalke started their return to the Europa League after three consecutive Champions League seasons with a well-deserved three points.

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Schalke's Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrates scoring the 1-0 goal during the German First division Bundesliga football match FC Schalke 04 vs FC Augsburg in Gelsenkirchen on October 31, 2014
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