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In front of a sell-out crowd at the Millerntor the Boys in Brown lost the opening home game of 2018 by the only goal to SV Darmstadt 98 on Sunday afternoon. Markus Kauczinski's side enjoyed plenty of possession and created some decent chances after Joevin Jones had given his side a seventh-minute lead, but for all their efforts they were unable to find the net.

The Boys in Brown went into the game full of confidence after successive wins over VfL Bochum (2-1) and Dynamo Dresden (3-1) and had the chance to increase the gap to the drop zone to ten points with another victory. Head coach Markus Kauczinski had to make do without captain Bernd Nehrig (cold) and defensive organiser Lasse Sobiech (calf), however. That allowed Clemens Schoppenhauer to make his first start for the club, with Johannes Flum taking the armband for the first time.

Instead of Hells Bells the two teams walked out to a minute's silence to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. When the game kicked off, both teams made a bold start and with six minutes gone Sami Allagui threaded a pass into the path of Cenk Sahin, who shot narrowly wide of the goal with his weaker right foot. Almost immediately, however, Joevin Jones was allowed to shoot 25 metres from goal and ball zipped into the bottom corner to give the visitors an early lead.

Kauczinski's side immediately went in search of an equaliser. In the 11th minute Jeremy Dudziak and Aziz Bouhaddouz linked up well down the left, only for the striker to be denied by Daniel Heuer Fernandes in the Darmstadt goal. The Lilies, for their part, were clearly content with what they had and restricted themselves to keeping things tight at the back with two rows of four. Unsurprisingly, the Boys in Brown went in at the break with 58 per cent possession and ten attempts on goal to the visitors' one, yet they neglected to score an equaliser, as on the stroke of half-time when Allagui was unable to find a way past Heuer Fernandes from a tight angle.

Frustratingly, the Boys in Brown created enough chances, but it was Darmstadt who led at the break.

Frustratingly, the Boys in Brown created enough chances, but it was Darmstadt who led at the break.

St. Pauli had to stay patient after the interval, as a solid Darmstadt rearguard continued to give nothing away at the back. The Boys in Brown pushed and probed, and on 57 Bouhaddouz dispatched a cross toward Allagui at the back post, only for Fabian Holland to divert the ball out for a corner with a last-ditch intervention. Two minutes later Dudziak powered his way to the byline before cutting the ball back for Allagui, but his header flew straight at Heuer Fernandes. Darmstadt then went on a rare foray upfield, Peter Niemeyer forcing a point-blank save from Robin Himmelmann following a corner.

Darmstadt rediscovered their attacking game after that and the match became a more open affair, with both sides looking to get forward. Kauczinski's side lacked punch, however. With 15 minutes left Waldemar Sobota found Richard Neudecker with a cross and the substitute's header was a good one, yet once again Heuer Fernandes was in the way. The St. Pauli boss went for broke in the closing stages, introducing another striker in Jan-Marc Schneider for centre-back Clemens Schoppenhauer, but it failed to produce the desired effect and on a day to forget the Boys in Brown succumbed to the only goal.


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann – Zander, Avevor, Schoppenhauer (Schneider 84'), Buballa – Flum, Dudziak – Sahin (Diamantakos 56'), Allagui (Neudecker 70'), Sobota – Bouhaddouz

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski


SV Darmstadt 98

Heuer Fernandes – Grosskreutz, Sulu, Brégerie, Holland – Niemeyer, Medojevic – Kempe, Ji (Rosenthal 67'), Jones (Sirigu 38') – Platte (Boyd 78')

Head coach: Dirk Schuster


Goal: 0-1 Jones (7')

Yellow cards: Zander – Jones, Kempe

Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Niederkassel)

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: Witters