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VALIANT EFFORT BUT BOYS IN BROWN EXIT CUP AT FREIBURG

FC St. Pauli finally succumbed to a 2-1 extra-time defeat at SC Freiburg after a tremendous performance in the second round of the DFB Cup on Wednesday evening. Lukas Daschner gave his side a first-half lead in front of 33,500 spectators, only for Christian Ginter to take it to extra-time with a last-gasp equaliser before Michael Gregoritsch grabbed the winner two minutes from the end.

Just a few days after the victory over HSV in the derby, FC St. Pauli went to Bundesliga outfit SC Freiburg hoping to book their place in the next round of the DFB Cup. Timo Schultz was forced to make a number of changes to his team, Betim Fazliji and Connor Metcalfe coming in for the injured Jakov Medic and the suspended Manolis Saliakas respectively, while Lukas Daschner was preferred to Igor Matanovic.

The Schultz XI began in confident fashion and caused the home side problems with their intelligent movement and forceful pressing. And with four minutes gone they created the first opportunity of the game when Metcalfe hit a low cutback into the penalty area for Etienne Amenyido to fire just over the crossbar.

Otherwise, chances were at a premium in an evenly balanced opening with long spells of possession for both teams. Christian Streich’s side gradually took control from the half-hour mark, however, and left-back Christian Günter registered their first meaningful opportunity with a shot from range that cleared the crossbar.

At the other end, the Boys in Brown had a great chance to take the lead on 37 when Daschner burst down the right and picked out Amenyido with a pinpoint pass, but the striker was unable to steer his effort past Noah Atubolu from close range. There was nothing the Freiburg keeper could do five minutes later, though. Daschner put Keven Schlotterbeck under pressure to such great effect that the defender undercooked his attempted backpass to Atubolu, allowing the midfielder-cum striker to break clear and dink the ball over the Freiburg custodian to give his side a not undeserved lead.

Streich responded by making four substitutions at the interval, among them former Millerntor favourite Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who had the first opportunity for his new team just moments after the restart. Fortunately, his close-range effort flew off target. The home side strove to step up the pressure, but it was Amenyido who had the next chance following a neat passing move involving Aremu, Metcalfe and Jackson Irvine. The striker was unable to get enough power on the ball, however, and Atubolu had no trouble making the save.

The home side increasingly pushed the play back into the St. Pauli half as the second period wore on, but clear-cut opportunities remained a rarity against a Schultz XI who defended with focus and passion. That changed in the 71st minute when Noah Weisshaupt burst into the box from the left and whipped the ball across the face of the goal. The ball struck Eric Smith on the calf and could have gone anywhere but thankfully it flew past the far post. The resulting corner also set the alarming bells ringing, but Günter’s header also went wide of the same post.

Nothing of note happened in the following 20 minutes apart from a header by substitute Gregoritsch, which failed to trouble Vasilj. But then came stoppage time. Freiburg threw everyone forward and in the third minute of time added on a long ball to the back post found the head of Matthias Ginter, who notched a last-gasp equaliser to send the tie into extra-time.

Whoever thought the home side would carry the momentum of the closing stages into the first period of extra-time was to be proved wrong. The Schultz XI looked unperturbed after conceding the late equaliser and continued to give as good as they got. Irvine was presented with an opportunity to restore his side’s lead after a filigree pass by Leart Paqarada, but under pressure didn’t make a proper contact and Atubolu was able to complete the save. Freiburg then threatened at the other end from a quickly taken free-kick by Vincenzo Grifo to Gregoritsch in the box. He arrowed a dangerous ball into the middle towards a thicket of teammates, but Vasilj just got a hand to it to thwart the onrushing Keitel.

In the second period of extra-time the Boys in Brown more than matched the home side and Marcel Hartel had the next chance in the 110th minute with a long-range drive that Atubolu tipped over for a corner, which came to nothing. But just as it looked as if the game would go to penalties, they were dealt a bitter blow with two minutes left when Gregoritsch headed the winner from a corner. The cup campaign had come to an end despite a magnificent battling performance by the Schultz XI.

SC Freiburg

Atubolu - Kübler, Ginter, Schlotterbek (Lienhart 46’), Günter - Weisshaupt (Grifo 76’), Eggestein (Höfler 46’), Jeong (Kyereh 46’), Doan, Keitel - Petersen (Gregoritsch 46’)

Head coach: Christian Streich

 

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Dźwigała, Smith, Fazliji (Wieckhoff 91’), Paqarada - Metcalfe, Aremu (Eggestein 96’), Irvine, Hartel - Daschner (Otto 88’), Amenyido (Matanovic 57’/Beifus 90’+3)

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

Goals: 0-1 Daschner (42’.), 1-1 Ginter (90’+3), 2-1 Gregoritsch (119’)

Yellow cards: Kübler – Paqarada, Fazliji, Daschner, Aremu, Wieckhoff, Irvine

Referee: Felix Brych (Munich)

Attendance: 33,500

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters

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