Fortuna Düsseldorf vs. FC St. Pauli
ESPRIT arena | 04.03.2018, 13:30
FC St. Pauli slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Fortuna Düsseldorf on Sunday. After Andre Hoffmann had given the home side an early lead, the Boys in Brown had opportunities to restore parity before the break. But with Fortuna in the ascendancy, Takashi Usami made it 2-0 on 74 minutes. Aziz Bouhaddouz pulled one back in stoppage time, but it was to prove too late.
Markus Kauczinski's side travelled to Düsseldorf having taken seven points from their last three matches. They were without captain Bernd Nehrig, however, who was serving a one-match ban. Johannes Flum took his place in central midfield. The St. Pauli coach also made a change in attack, preferring Jan-Marc Schneider to Sami Allagui alongside Aziz Bouhaddouz.
The Brown-and-Whites made a bright, focused start on a difficult playing surface but were caught cold in the ninth minute when Andre Hoffmann moved into the space created by Marcel Sobottka from a corner to bundle the ball over the line with his hip. Buoyed by the lead, the home side took control of the proceedings. Florian Neuhaus immediately tried his luck from distance, but Robin Himmelmann was more than equal to the test.
Jeremy Dudziak worked his side's first opening after 17 minutes, skipping down the middle past several defenders, only to drag his shot wide. Further half-chances for Dudziak and Aziz Bouhaddouz were to follow, and while they posed no real threat for Raphael Wolf's goal, they did provide evidence that the Boys in Brown were beginning to escape the home side's stranglehold. Their biggest chance to level the scores to that point arrived on 35 minutes. Waldemar Sobota delivered a perfect cross in to Christopher Avevor in the Fortuna goal area, but the central defender was unable to make a clean contact and the ball flew wide of the post.
The Boys in Brown came even closer to an equaliser in first-half time added on when Wolf's attempted clearance hit the head of Bouhaddouz and rolled back towards the empty net, only to strike the post. Moments later Dudziak found Bouhaddouz in the box. The Moroccan controlled the ball brilliantly but couldn't get a proper contact on the shot and his effort went wide.
Düsseldorf could consider themselves fortunate not to have conceded before the break, but when the two sides came back out it was the Boys in Brown who enjoyed the luck of the brave, as both Fink and Haraguchi squandered decent opportunities to extend Fortuna's lead. At the other end Bouhaddouz and Schneider had chances to level before Sobota hobbled off injured to be replaced by Cenk Sahin.
It was a fast-paced encounter now and Düsseldorf regained the initiative. Himmelmann produced two excellent saves in quick succession to deny Rouwen Hennings and Takashi Usami, while Niko Giesselmann put a third clear-cut opportunity in as many minutes wide from a corner. After a brief lull in the action Oliver Fink tested Himmelmann, but he too was unable to get the better of him. There was nothing the St. Pauli custodian could do on 74, however, when Usami collected the ball outside the area and drilled a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the D.
With the introduction of strikers Dimitrios Diamantakos and Sami Allagui, Kauczinski went for broke in the closing stages in a bid to ward off the impending defeat. But with the home side sitting back and waiting for a chance to counter, the Boys in Brown were unable to create any chances of note. Instead, Himmelmann was called upon to defuse substitute Benito Raman 's 77th minute shot.
Bouhaddouz made things exciting again in time added on when he stuck out a foot to divert Sahin's shot into the net to halve the deficit. Kauczinski's charges were unable to conjure up an equaliser, however, and thus went home empty-handed after three games without a defeat.
Wolf – Schauerte, Ayhan (Bodzek 25'), Hoffmann, Gießelmann - Sobottka, Neuhaus - Haraguchi (Raman 61'), Fink, Usami (Zimmer 90') - Hennings
Head coach: Friedhelm Funkel
FC St. Pauli
Himmelmann – Park, Sobiech, Avevor, Buballa – Flum, Dudziak – Sobota (Sahin 55'), Schneider (Diamantakos 75'), Neudecker (Allagui 78') – Bouhaddouz
Head coach: Markus Kauczinski
Goals: 1-0 Hoffmann (9'), 2-0 Usami (74'), 2-1 Bouhaddouz (90'+1)
Yellow cards: Hennings
Referee: Timo Gerach
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