Schalke beats Mainz to consolidate 2nd place in Bundesliga

March 9, 2018
Mainz's Abdou Diallo, bottom, and Schalke's Weston McKennie challenge for the ball during a German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FSV Mainz 05 and FC Schalke 04 in Mainz, Germany, Friday, March 9, 2018.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

MAINZ, Germany (AP) — Schalke held on to a 1-0 win against relegation-threatened Mainz to consolidate second place in the Bundesliga on Friday.

Daniel Caligiuri scored 10 minutes after the break to lift Schalke four points clear of Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt, which meet on Sunday.

Mainz, which had 16 attempts on goal compared to the visitors’ six, remains in the relegation playoff spot with eight games remaining.

Robin Quaison went close after a good turn for Mainz, but it was a solitary highlight in a lackluster first half with both sides canceling each other out. There were whistles from exasperated fans at halftime.

Both coaches made changes, with offensive midfielders Leon Goretzka and Alexandru Maxim coming on for Schalke and Mainz, respectively.

But it was Caligiuri who made the breakthrough, eluding three defenders before curling a fine shot inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

It opened up the game somewhat, with chances at either end. Mainz substitute Levin Oztunali was denied by a fine save from Ralf Faehrmann near the end of the match.

The home side might also have had a penalty when Thilo Kehrer bundled over Stefan Bell, but referee Felix Brych stayed quiet and there was no intervention from the video referee.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.