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External media: Bouhaddouz earns a point against 10-man Bochum

An enthralling game from start to finish brought 2016 to a close for both sides.

Credit: This article first appeared on vavel.com

VfL Bochum put in a dogged defensive performance to secure a 1-1 draw against FC St. Pauli, as Peniel Mlapa and Aziz Bouhaddouz's goals cancelled each other out.

However, the result mattered little in the end after a traumatic brain injury to Daniel Buballa. He has nothing but our best wishes.

Team news

After their first win since matchday four, Ewald Lienen made three changes from the side that were victorious against Greuther Fürth. Daniel Buballa, Marc Hornschuh and Ryo Miyaichi were drafted in to replace the suspended Enver Cenk Sahin and injured duo, Bernd Nehrig and Richard Neudecker. The latter was fit enough for the bench.

With a first clean-sheet since March secured in their 1-0 win over 1860 Munich last weekend, Gertjan Verbeek could be forgiven had he been set upon starting the same defensive line-up. However, the return of Timo Hoogland and Maxim Leitsch's illness meant that Russell Canouse dropped to the bench and Nico Rieble replaced Leitsch.

Mlapa gives Bochum the lead as Perthel sees red

With their seventh different centre-back pairing in just 17 games this season, things began badly for Timo Perthel in the unfamiliar position. His attempted header back to Manuel Riemann was poor and Aziz Bouhaddouz pounced to back-heel the ball over the stranded stopper. Expecting a goal, the ball instead crashed out off the bar.

St. Pauli continued to come forward and looked much the better side, especially on the right, although proceedings took a nasty turn when Buballa caught Riemann's shoulder. The left-midfielder was out cold and had to be stretchered off with a neck brace.

The club confirmed he had suffered a serious brain injury during a half-time tweet, and was on his way to hospital, to which we can only wish him a speedy and full recovery.

However, despite all the early pressure from the hosts it was Bochum who took the lead. A quick throw-in was hooked into the box by Johannes Wurtz and brought down by Mlapa. The ball bounced between him and Nils Quaschner, before Mlapa shot low and hard past the helpless Philipp Heerwagen at his near post.

The atmosphere was decidedly fierce at the Millerntor and took another turn when a high-flying challenge from Perthel caught Miyaichi. After a long discussion with his assistant, Felix Zwayer opted to produce a red card to add to the defender's miserable day. Even though the defender didn't see the pacey winger, Zwayer had little choice.

Unsurprisingly, the remainder of the half was dominated by the hosts as Bochum barely exited their own half. However, the even more makeshift defence held on to repel attack after attack and see the visitors manage their way to an oh-so slender advantage at half-time.

Bouhaddouz levels late on

The restart brought changes on both sides, with Verbeek's side opting for a much more defensive approach. Russell Canouse replaced Mlapa, while Lienen called upon Nico Empen for Hornschuh to bring on an additional attacking threat. Despite being a man down, Bochum looked much more comfortable than they did in the first half.

But while the Ruhrpott club enjoyed more regular ventures into the opposition half, St. Pauli still looked the more dangerous side and should have been level following a flowing move. Some good play in the middle saw the ball shifted out to the right and back towards Miyaichi, only for the Japanese and Bouhaddouz to get in each other's way.

However, the constant pressure finally told when two mistakes paved the way to an equaliser. After Gyamerah gave the ball away in the corner, Joël Keller's ball to the back post looked routine for Riemann. However, he misjudged the ball and it fell straight at the feet of Bouhaddouz who gleefully tapped in.

That set up a frantic finale that never really lived up to its billing as Bochum held on for a point. The hosts remain bottom, and haven't lost any ground on the chasing pack as results dominate the final matchday of 2016. As for Bochum, they move onto 22 points and sit comfortably in mid-table.

Credit: This article first appeared on vavel.com