F.C. SCHALKE 04 1
Crystal Palace prepared for the new season with a competitive 1-1 draw with F.C. Schalke 04 in their final pre-season friendly, thanks to Christian Benteke’s diving header which cancelled out Pablo Insua’s first-half goal.
Julian Speroni returned to a rapturous reception as he took his place in goal in front of the Holmesdale end, with a huge roar as his name was read out.
Palace lined up as they have throughout pre-season, which meant Luka Milivojevic taking his place in the back three of the 3-4-3 formation alongside Scott Dann and new-boy Jairo Riedewald.
Andros Townsend went close after just two minutes with a fine curling effort from the edge of the area which was tipped over the bar by Ralf Fahrmann.
Townsend was involved again on 20 minutes after good work from the impressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the midfield. The Chelsea loanee set the wing-back free down the right and he cut in again, but his shot was tame and easy for Fahrmann to gather.
The Eagles almost fell behind five minutes later as Scott Dann’s pass to Speroni was short, and the keeper’s kick ricocheted back off Amine Harit, but much to the hosts’ relief it bounced wide of Speroni’s goal.
The game lacked any finesse, bearing all the hallmarks that can be expected from a pre-season friendly, with Loftus-Cheek and Townsend the only stand-out players in the opening 45 minutes. Patrick van Aanholt snatched at an opportunity as he sliced an effort wide from the edge of the box.
It was the away side who struck first. The German outfit took the lead after an excellent cross from Bastian Oczipka was nodded past Speroni by Pablo Insua on the cusp of half-time.
Palace came out the better side in the second half with more impetus and they reaped their reward when Wilfried Zaha did well to beat his man down the left, and his cross was parried into the path of Christian Benteke who nodded home for the equaliser.
Benteke had a glorious chance to win it late on but his shot was straight at Fahrmann and neither side found a winner as it finished all square.
Crystal Palace (3-4-3) Speroni, Milivojevic, Dann, Riedewald (Tomkins, 81), Van Aanholt, Townsend (Ward, 70), Loftus-Cheek, Puncheon, Zaha, Lokilo (Lee, 79), Benteke. Not used: Hennessey, Schlupp, Ladapo, Husin, Wan-Bissaka
F.C Schalke 04: Fährmann – Insua, Bentaleb, Reese, Stambouli (Geis, 60), Caligiuri, Burgstaller, Kehrer, Oczipka (Goretzka, 60), Harit (Coke, 60), Naldo (Meyer 60). Not used: Nubel, Howedes, McKennie