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FC St. Pauli went out of the DFB Cup at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday night, losing 4-3 on penalties to Fortuna Düsseldorf after the game had ended 2-2 after extra-time. Hartel cancelled out Vermeij's opener from the spot on the hour before Tanaka put the visitors back in front in extra-time. Boukhalfa's last-gasp equaliser ensured the game went to a penalty shootout, in which Düsseldorf held their nerve to win.

Tuesday night's DFB Cup quarter-final under the lights at the Millerntor had all the makings of special evening, with the Boys in Brown looking to go one better after the 2-1 defeat at Union Berlin at the same stage of the competition in 2022. Three days after the 2-1 win at Fortuna Düsseldorf, the two teams went head to head again, this time by the Elbe instead of the Rhine. As in the previous rounds, Sascha Burchert began in goal. "He's deserved it," said head coach Fabian Hürzeler at the pre-match news conference. Hürzeler missed the league game due to suspension but returned to his customary place on the touchline for the cup-tie. Two additional changes saw Lars Ritzka and Etienne Amenyido come in for Manolis Saliakas and Elias Saad. New recruit Erik Ahlstrand, 22, did not feature in the squad. Fortuna supremo Daniel Thioune made just adjustment to his side, asking Felix Klaus to patrol the flank instead of Jona Niemiec.

The proceedings began with a minute's silence in memory of the recently deceased Franz Beckenbauer and both teams wore black armbands. Sporting their petrol-coloured cup shirts, the Hürzeler XI had the better of the opening stages, but with ten minutes gone the visitors had to make an enforced change when Emmanuel Iyoha pulled up after a race with Etienne Amenyido. He was replaced by Takashi Uchino. The tempo increased from that point as both teams looked to play their way through the opposition rearguard. And it was Düsseldorf who laid down the first marker on the quarter-hour when Ao Tanaka chested down a half-clearance outside the box and volleyed towards goal and Burchert watched it past the post. The first decent opportunity at the other end fell to Johannes Eggestein, who like Tanaka also went for goal from distance on 27. His deflected effort was no problem for F95 keeper Florian Kastenmeier, though. 

Ten minutes from the break, a though ball sent Vincent Vermeij on his way and the Fortuna striker went to ground under a challenge from Burchert. The flag initially went up for offside, but on the intervention of the VAR the referee correctly awarded a penalty and booked the St. Pauli custodian. Vermeij picked himself up and dispatched the spot kick with aplomb into the bottom left corner to open the scoring. The Boys in Brown rallied once more in time added on and Etienne Amenyido had the final opportunity of the half from a central position 20 metres out, but unfortunately screwed his shot wide of the target.

The impressive South Stand tifo to greet the teams

The impressive South Stand tifo to greet the teams

Hürzeler responded to the half-time deficit by introducing Manolis Saliakas and Elias Saad for Lars Ritzka and Etienne Amenyido, while the visitors emerged unchanged. The Boys in Brown continued to press in the opening stages but again struggled to fashion goalscoring opportunities. That was in no small part down to the well-marshalled Düsseldorf rearguard, who repeatedly moved intelligently as a unit, displayed bite in the tackle and kept Marcel Hartel in check through Andre Hoffmann.

That changed in the 59th minute when some neat link-up play between the two substitutes, Saad and Saliakas, ended with the St. Pauli No10, surrounded by Düsseldorf players in the box, prodding the ball to Philipp Treu, who was brought down by Tanaka in the box. The referee had no hesitation awarding another penalty, this time for the Boys in Brown. and Hartel stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. Parity had been restored and now the Hürzeler XI wanted more. Yet the visitors were not content to sit back, and with 67 minutes gone Tanaka fizzed a long-range effort past the left-and upright. With a quarter of an hour left Hürzeler added fresh legs in the shape of striker Maurides and midfielder Carlo Boukhalfa for Johannes Eggestein and Aljoscha Kemlein. 

The visitors posed a constant threat down the right-hand side in the closing stages, in particular through the lightning-quick Christos Tzolis, while the Boys in Brown struggled to find the gap and the momentum needed to break through the Fortuna defence. And as in the second round against FC Schalke 04 at the Millerntor, the tie went into extra-time.

Marcel Hartel levels from the spot on the hour

Marcel Hartel levels from the spot on the hour

It remained hard work for the Hürzeler XI, a battle of attrition against the Fortuna bulwark. To what extent would "Fortuna", the goddess of fortune, be on the side of the Boys in Brown this evening? In the 97th minute it looked for all the world as if they would take a decisive step towards Berlin when the Düsseldorf defence failed to clear a cross from Maurides and the ball fell to Hartel, but he scooped the ball over the bar with just Kastenmeier to beat. What a chance!

Back at the other end, the visitors proved more clinical a couple of minutes later. Tanaka was the beneficiary on 99 when Burchert was unable to hang on to a Yannik Engelhardt shot and the Japan international netted on the rebound to put his side back in front. The Boys in Brown threw everyone forward in the second period of extra-time, including centre-back Hauke Wahl with his aerial threat. It looked as if Daniel Thioune's men were going to see the game out, but after Hürzeler had been dismissed for a second bookable offence, substitute Carlo Boukhalfa sent the Millerntor into raptures with a last-gasp headed equaliser. 

High drama - and so it went to penalties. Burchert gave his team the advantage in saving against Christoph Daferner, but then Kastenmeier followed suit against Maurides. Hartel also saw his penalty saved by Kastenmeier, but it had to be retaken because the Fortuna keeper was off his line. Unfortunately, Kastenmeier saved again and it was left for Tzolis to win it for the visitors.

FC St. Pauli

Burchert - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Treu, Kemlein (Boukhalfa 74'), Hartel, Ritzka (Saliakas 46') - Amenyido (Saad 46'), Eggestein (Maurides 74'), Afolayan (Sinani 99')

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Fortuna Düsseldorf

Kastenmeier - Iyoha (Uchino 12'), Hoffmann, de Wijs (Quarshie 91'), Gavory - Engelhardt - Tanaka, Jóhannesson (Zimmermann 91') - Klaus (Niemiec 86'), Vermeij (Daferner 68'), Tzolis

Head coach: Daniel Thioune


Goals: 0-1 Vermeij (pen. 38'), 1-1 Hartel (pen. 60'), 1-2 Tanaka (99'), 2-2 Boukhalfa (120')

Penalty shootout: 1-0 Smith, 1-1 Hoffmann, 2-1 Saad, Burchert saves from Daferner, 3-1 Sinani, 3-2 Engelhardt, Kastenmeier saves from Maurides, 3-3 Tanaka, Kastenmeier saves from Hartel, 3-4 Tzolis

Yellow cards: Burchert, Hürzeler, Saliakas, Mets, Saad – Hoffmann

Red card (second yellow): Hürzeler

Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Niederkassel)

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: FC St. Pauli