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The Boys in Brown secured a point at SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon. Despite a decent first period, they trailed 1-0 at the break, Serdar Dursun giving Darmstadt the lead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time. Dursun added a second on 76 before substitute Rico Benatelli pulled one back five minutes later. Then, Rodrigo Zalazar converted a penalty to seal a 2-2 draw in the fifth minute of time added on.

Head coach Timo Schultz had to make two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with FC Nürnberg on Monday night. Injured captain Christopher Avevor and striker Guido Burgstaller (recovering from abdominal surgery) were replaced by Marvin Knoll, acting as stand-in captain, and Maximilian Dittgen. The Boys in Brown again began with back three and two men up front. Darmstadt coach Markus Anfang went with the side that celebrated a last-minute 3-2 victory at Nürnberg in their last outing almost three weeks ago.

Like the last meeting between the two sides at the Böllenfalltor in late May, the game took place behind closed doors, the reason being the rise in the number of infections in Darmstadt. With no crowd and in front of a building site opposite the main stand, both teams made a lively start to the game. Darmstadt goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen made a comfortable save from a Daniel-Kofi Kyereh header following a Luca Zander cross before Marvin Mehlem failed to get a proper contact on the ball when promisingly placed at the other end. Next, Sebastian Ohlsson knocked the ball wide to Zander, who wrongfooted Immanuel Höhn when cutting in from the right, only to find the side netting with his weaker left foot.

The Boys in Brown threatened down the right again soon after. Zander's cross was headed back by Simon Makienok to Kyereh, who got underneath his effort and directed his shot over the bar. Two minutes later, referee Marco Fritz pointed to the spot when Maximilian Dittgen went down under a challenge from Matthias Bader in the box. Fritz had another look at it, however, following an intervention by the video assistant referee, and correctly reversed his decision. The game ebbed and flowed and Mehlem dragged a shot well off target on the break before Rodrigo Zalazar fluffed an effort and Schuhen gathered a shot from Kyereh at the second attempt.

The action then switched to the left, where Dittgen raced to the byeline and delivered a low ball in for the advancing Finn Ole Becker. His shot was parried at the near post by Schuhen - that could have been the opening goal. Though Darmstadt were edging the possession, they struggled to find a way through a compact FCSP rearguard into the box. As a result, they were unable to create any further chances. That changed just before the break, however, when Becker brought down Tobias Kempe following a corner and Darmstadt were awarded a penalty. Serdar Dursun stepped to convert into the bottom left corner after doing a little jump in the run-up to send his team in a goal to the good at the interval.

Robin Himmelmann went the right way but was unable to reach Serdar Dursun's pinpoint penalty.

Robin Himmelmann went the right way but was unable to reach Serdar Dursun's pinpoint penalty.

Both sides emerged unchanged after the break, with the Boys in Brown left with 45 minutes to claim their first result at the Böllenfalltor since 1992. With some aggressive pressing, they established a presence in the Darmstadt half early on but the hosts were able to relieve the pressure with a long ball forward that was flicked on by Dursun to Mehlem, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area was gathered by Himmelmann.

Slowly but surely, the Lilies began to make better use of the space that opened up as the Boys in Brown pushed forward. Himmelmann was forced to intervene again to prevent Dursun adding a second and Höhn smashed a shot over the bar from a corner. Darmstadt continued to press and despite having a three against one in the FCSP penalty area they were unable to capitalise when Dursun squared the ball to Tim Skarke and he was denied by the impressive Himmelmann.

Timo Schultz responded by making his first double switch, Boris Tashchy and Lukas Daschner replacing the ailing Philipp Ziereis and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh. Daschner slotted in right away, and when Zalazar won possession on the halfway line, the former Duisburg man collected the ball from Tashchy and swept past two Darmstadt players before attempting to dink the ball over Schuhen from just outside the box. Unfortunately, his effort lacked the power to clear the keeper. Kevin Lankford then replaced Luca Zander for the Boys in Brown.

With a quarter of an hour left, the home side doubled their advantage when Kempe dispatched a free-kick into the box for Dursun to head past the powerless Himmelmann. Leart Paqarada and Rico Benatelli replaced Marvin Knoll and Maximilian Dittgen, and they could only look on as Dursun, looking slightly surprised to receive the ball from another free-kick, scooped his effort over from close range.

St. Pauli hopes were then raised when Daschner allowed a low ball in from Lankford to pass and Benatelli pounced to finish into the bottom left corner from eight metres and halve the deficit. With the Boys in Brown throwing everyone forward, chances opened up at the other end, but substitute Braydon Manu shot wide two minutes from the end of regulation time when looking more likely to score.

Deep into stoppage time, Daschner went down in the Darmstadt box to loud appeals for a penalty. Play continued and the home side launched another attack. When that fizzled out, the referee had another look at the situation and pointed to the spot! Zalazar, who had already converted a penalty against Nürnberg, took on the responsibility again and slotted home to secure a 2-2 draw. The Boys in Brown had earned their first point at Darmstadt since 1992.

SV Darmstadt 98

Schuhen - Bader, Mai, Höhn, Holland - Rapp - Skarke (Manu 81'), Mehlem (Stanilewicz 86'), Kempe (Berko 81'), Honsak (Pálsson 72') - Dursun (Seydel 86')

Head coach: Markus Anfang


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Ohlsson, Ziereis (Daschner 65'), Buballa - Zander (Lankford 72'), Zalazar, Becker, Knoll (Benatelli 78'), Dittgen (Paqarada 78') - Kyereh (Tashchy 65'), Makienok

Head coach: Timo Schultz


Goals: 1-0 Dursun (pen. 45'), 2-0 Dursun (76'), 2-1 Benatelli (81'), 2-2 Zalazar (pen. 90'+5)

Yellow cards: Mehlem, Holland - Zander, Buballa, Benatelli, Zalazar

Referee: Marco Fritz

Attendance: 0


Photos: Witters