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FC St. Pauli extended their unbeaten run to five games at MSV Duisburg on Monday evening as head coach Markus Kauczinski again made a winning substitution. Sami Allagui headed the only goal six minutes from time, just moments after coming on.

Duisburg earned themselves some badly needed breathing space at the bottom end of the table with a 2-1 win at table-toppers FC Köln before the international break. That was not only their first game under new coach Torsten Lieberknecht, but also their first three-point haul of the season. The ex-Braunschweig boss opted to change his starting lineup all the same, with John Verhoek, among others, coming in to face his former club. Markus Kauczinski, in contrast, saw no reason to change the side that beat Sandhausen 3-1 last time out.

The home side maintained a high line in the opening stages in an attempt to stifle the opposition build-up, yet the Boys in Brown repeatedly played their way out of Duisburg's press to make their presence felt in attack. An initial effort from Jeremy Dudziak failed to trouble Daniel Mesenhöler early on, but the MSV keeper had more to do to prevent Marvin Knoll from opening the scoring after playing a neat one-two with Christopher Buchtmann.

Kauczinski's side were knocking the ball around nicely and had the game under control but they had to wait until the 27th minute for their next opportunity when referee Pascal Müller awarded a free-kick after a foul on Ryo Miyaichi 25 metres out. Knoll's attempt sailed well over the top, however. All that was lacking in an otherwise creditable display, in which Miyaichi and Dudziak had the next two chances, was the final ball. The Zebras, for their part, posed little threat in the first period.

This superiority was reflected in almost every statistic, with the Boys in Brown racking up more passes, tackles won, corners and attempts on goal. Kauczinski thus had every reason to be happy with the first-half performance, though not with the scoreline.

The best chance of the first half – Mesenhöler denies Knoll.

The best chance of the first half – Mesenhöler denies Knoll.

Both teams emerged unchanged for the second half but this time it was the home side who fashioned the first chance after 54 minutes. MSV skipper Kevin Wolze tried to knock a free-kick underneath the wall from 20 metres, but Robin Himmelmann was wise to it and made the save. In response to the improved showing by the home side, Kauczinski made his first change on the hour, throwing on Henk Veerman for Dimitrios Diamantakos.

Though the Dutchman was not directly involved, the 20,000 spectators saw the best chance of the game to that point immediately after his introduction. Philipp Ziereis flicked on a corner from the left-hand side and Miyaichi beat the advancing Mesenhöler to the ball, only to see his header fly just over the crossbar. The Japan midfielder was injured in the collision with the keeper, however, and had to be replaced by Richard Neudecker.

At the other end, Andreas Wiegel forced a fine stop from Himmelmann with a "knuckle ball" shot on 69, and Dudziak jumped in to deny Ahmet Engin on the rebound with all the alarm bells ringing. Wiegel went up against Himmelmann again from a direct free-kick in the 78th minute, but once again the keeper came out on top. The Boys in Brown were no longer as dominant as in the first half but they continued to probe whenever they got the opportunity. Veerman had their best chance from a Buchtmann cross on 79, his hooked effort fizzing narrowly the wrong side of the upright.

That was to be the midfielder's last involvement in the game. He was replaced by Sami Allagui. And in a repeat of the late show against Sandhausen, the substitute struck within seconds of entering the fray. Knoll delivered a corner from the right and the Duisburg defence failed to pick up the Tunisia striker, leaving him the relatively easy task of guiding his header into the far corner. Fabian Schnellhardt almost produced an equaliser for the home side in time added on, but his header came down on top of the goal. Moments later the referee blew for full-time to send the travelling fans into raptures.

MSV Duisburg

Mesenhöler – Wiegel, Nauber, Bomheuer, Wolze – Fröde (Albutat 76') – Oliveira Souza, Schnellhardt, Engin – Tashchy (Iljutcenko 76'), Verhoek (Sukuta-Pasu 85')

Head coach: Torsten Lieberknecht


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann – Dudziak, Ziereis, Avevor, Buballa – Flum, Knoll – Miyaichi (Neudecker 63'), Buchtmann (Allagui 82'), Møller Dæhli – Diamantakos (Veerman 59')

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski


Goal: 0-1 Allagui (84')

Yellow cards: Fröde – Ziereis, Avevor

Referee: Pascal Müller

Attendance: 20,130


Photos: Witters