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In the penultimate home game of the year FC St. Pauli defeated Greuther Fürth by two goals to nil to end the first half of the season in fourth place on 31 points. Florian Carstens and Ryo Miyaichi got the goals in front of another sell-out crowd at the Millerntor.

Head coach Markus Kauczinski made three changes to the side that won 3-1 at VfL Bochum earlier in the week. Florian Carstens came in for the suspended Philipp Ziereis to make his first start at the Millerntor. Fit-again Marvin Knoll returned to the side for the ailing Johannes Flum, while Mats Møller Dæhli got the nod over Waldemar Sobota, who began on the bench.

The game kicked off in temperatures near the freezing point, with the first chance falling to the Boys in Brown after just two minutes. A ball in from the left by Jan-Philipp Kalla found its way to Sami Allagui, who laid it off for Jeremy Dudziak to tee up Ryo Miyaichi in the box. The Japan midfielder's initial effort was blocked, and the second smacked back off the crossbar. So close! Six minutes later right-back Maximilian Sauer got forward for the visitors, but his effort ended up in the South Stand.

There was nothing to choose between the two sides in the ensuing period, with neither creating any chances of note. Fürth closed the space down so well that the Boys in Brown were unable to unpick their defence at this stage of the game. Unsurprisingly, then, it took a corner to break the deadlock on 21. Knoll dispatched the ball into the middle and found Henk Veerman at the near post. His header was brilliantly turned onto the crossbar by Fürth keeper Sascha Burchert, but Carstens was on hand to nod the rebound over the line to open the scoring.

The Boys in Brown continued to push forward and Veerman tried his luck with a backheel from Luca Zander's low cutback, but Mario Maloca was able to get the block in. Kauczinski's side were giving little away at the back and a Daniel Keita-Ruel header that flew way over the top in the 33rd minute was all the visitors had to show for their efforts. Just before the interval the Boys in Brown threatened again when Knoll floated a free-kick into the box, where Maloca almost diverted the ball into his own net – to his relief it came down on top of the net. Møller Dæhli then skipped past several opponents on the right and cut the ball back from the byline to Dudziak, whose shot was defused by the Fürth defence.

Florian Carstens celebrates his first senior goal on his fifth second-division appearance.

Florian Carstens celebrates his first senior goal on his fifth second-division appearance.

I The two teams re-emerged unchanged for the second half and again the Boys in Brown got off to the better start. Møller Dæhli won possession on the edge of the Fürth box and slipped the ball to Dudziak, and with the keeper beaten Maximilian Sauer had to hook the ball off the line. Three minutes later Knoll knocked a free-kick into the danger area and Allagui headed against the upright.

At the other end Keita-Ruel found the net with a low drive into the bottom corner on 51 but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. The visitors went close again seven minutes later when Sauer picked out Sebastian Ernst on the edge of the box and his angled drive whistled narrowly past the far post. Fürth were having the better of things at this stage, not least because the Boys in Brown were lacking accuracy in their passing game.

After 68 minutes the visitors broke quickly through substitute Daniel Steininger. His powerfully struck drive from 18 metres produced a smart save from Himmelmann, who recovered quickly to smother the rebound effort from Keita-Ruel as well. And instead of restoring parity, the visitors suddenly found themselves two down. Kalla won the ball on halfway and rolled it to Møller Dæhli, who left Paul Jaeckel standing before crossing into the middle for Miyaichi to stoop low and head home.

Fürth refused to lie down, however, and quickly fashioned an opportunity to reduce the deficit, but Christopher Avevor stepped in to block Keita-Ruel's shot at the last second. At the other end Miyaichi could have made it 3-0 when found by Dudziak, but with all the goal to aim at he fired the ball over. In the 79th minute Kauczinski introduced fresh legs in Waldemar Sobota for Møller Dæhli, having already thrown on Dimitrios Diamantakos for Allagui eleven minutes earlier.

With the game entering the closing stages, Diamantakos angled a drive past the far post but the Boys in Brown were left breathing a sigh of relief themselves on 87 when centre-back Maloca headed against the crossbar from eight metres. Jan-Marc Schneider came on for Miyaichi and almost added a third from a corner and then that was that. The Boys in Brown celebrated their first home win since early October to end the first half of the season in a more than respectable fourth place on 31 points.

FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Zander, Avevor, Carstens, Kalla - Knoll, Dudziak - Miyaichi (Schneider 87'), Allagui (Diamantakos 67'), Møller Dæhli (Sobota 78') - Veerman

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski


SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Burchert - Sauer, Maloca, Magyar, Mohr - Gugganig (Raum 84'), Jaeckel - Atanga, Ernst, Green (Steininger 57') - Keita-Ruel

Head coach: Damir Buric


Goals: 1-0 Carstens (21'), 2-0 Miyaichi (69')

Yellow cards: Diamantakos – Maloca, Magyar

Referee: Felix Zwayer

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: Witters