AT LAST! BOYS IN BROWN WIN FIVE-GOAL THRILLER AT HANNOVER
Saturday, 16. January 2021, 16:00 Uhr
What a match! FC St. Pauli won a game of two hugely different halves 3-2 at Hannover 96. Rodrigo Zalazar and Guido Burgstaller gave the Boys in Brown the lead in a super first-half showing but the home side upped the pressure after the interval to restore parity through a Genki Haraguchi brace. Hannover squandered several chances to take the lead before substitute Igor Matanović got the all-important goal in time added on.
After impressive performances from both teams last time out, neither coach had reason to change things round. Hannover boss Kenan Kocak fielded the same eleven that began the 2-1 win at Darmstadt, while Timo Schultz made just one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Holstein Kiel, Sebastian Ohlsson returning from suspension to slot in at right-back in place of Adam Dźwigała, who dropped to the bench. New signing Eric Smith did not make the trip to Hannover.
Both teams hit the ground running but it was the Boys in Brown who made the perfect start. Omar Marmoush sent Guido Burgstaller on his way down the right and he picked out Zalazar in the middle. Goalkeeper Michael Esser got his hand to the shot but was unable to prevent it from crossing the line. Two minutes in and it was already gloves off, with both sides looking to get forward at every opportunity. Zalazar tested Esser again on seven, but this time it was the keeper who came off best. Hannover had their first sight of goal in the ninth minute when Marcel Franke met a corner with his head.
A goal was in the air and again it was St. Pauli who got it. The extremely industrious Zalazar found Burgstaller at the back stick with a cross and the centre-forward headed in from close range. There was hardly time to draw breath, not least because Timo Schultz's charges pressed the ball non-stop instead of sitting on their lead. It was an excellent display from the off from a St. Pauli team who were alert at the back and full of ideas and determination in possession. It could have been three on 23 minutes had Niklas Hult not slid in at the last minute to divert the ball for a corner with Burgstaller waiting to pounce. The home side posed a threat only from set pieces in the opening half-hour, but the brown-and-white rearguard continued to stand firm. At the other end, Zalazar tried his luck again from just outside the area and did not miss the far post by much.
Kenan Kocak had seen enough and made a double substitution in the 33rd minute, Hendrik Weydandt and Florent Muslija coming on for the hapless Valmir Sulejmani and Kingsley Schindler. Yet apart from a harmless effort from Dominik Kaiser, the home side were unable to mount much of a challenge despite increasing their share of possession. St. Pauli continued to fashion the better chances. Kofi Kyereh missed the target when promisingly placed, while Marvin Ducksch hit an effort straight at Stojanović. All told, the Boys in Brown were well worth their two-goal lead at the break.
Both sides emerged unchanged for the second half, which began with a bang when Kyereh spotted Esser off his line and went for goal from the halfway line. The Hannover custodian scrambled back to make the save and then denied the same player again two minutes later, this time from close range. Almost immediately, Esser was hand to keep out a shot from Zalazar. It could easily have been 3-0, but within minutes it was 2-2 when Haraguchi struck twice in quick succession to level the scores. The Japan midfielder first beat Dejan Stojanović with a pinpoint drive from just outside the box on 53 and then headed a Sei Muroya cross into the net from close range for the equaliser two minutes later.
Timo Schultz responded by introducing Leon Flach for Finn Ole Becker to break the home side's momentum. Hannover continued to press, however, and almost took the lead with a double chance for Ducksch and Kaiser on the hour. It had been an impressive first 50 minutes from a St. Pauli point of view, but the home side were clearly in the ascendency now and created further chances, the best of which were wasted by Ducksch and centre-back Timo Hübers. The Boys in Brown came back into it around the 70-minute mark and began to probe at the other end but had Stojanović to thank for a fine save to thwart Muslija. Opportunities were there from two free-kicks, but neither Marmoush nor Kyereh was able to find the target.
Referee Sören Storks found himself in the spotlight in the closing stages, first denying the home side a penalty when Weydandt went to ground in a challenge with Stojanović and then dismissing Jaka Bijol for a second bookable offence. And then came the big moment for Matanović, just a few minutes after coming on. Leart Paqarada delivered the ball into the middle and the youngster stuck out a foot to poke the ball over the line in the second minute of stoppage time. Hannover were unable to find an answer and it ended in a crucial second win of the season for the Boys in Brown.
Esser - Muroya, Franke, Hübers, Hult - Kaiser (Twumasi 86'), Bijol, Haraguchi (Twumasi 86') - Schindler (Weydandt 33'), Ducksch, Sulejmani (Muslija 33')
Head coach: Kenan Kocak
FC St. Pauli
Stojanović - Ohlsson, Ziereis, Buballa, Paqarada - Benatelli, Becker (Flach 59') - Marmoush (Dittgen 86'), Zalazar (Dźwigała 72'), Kyereh - Burgstaller (Matanović 86')
Head coach: Timo Schultz
Goals: 0-1 Zalazar (2'), 0-2 Burgstaller (10'), 1-2 Haraguchi (53'), 2-2 Haraguchi (55'), 2-3 Matanović (90'+2)
Yellow cards: Sulejmani, Ducksch, Franke, Hübers – Becker
Red card (second yellow): Bijol
Referee: Sören Storks (Velen)