DOMINANT BOYS IN BROWN COMPLETE PRE-SEASON CLEAN SWEEP AGAINST HAPOEL TEL AVIV
Saturday, 22. July 2023, 17:53 Uhr
FC St. Pauli made it seven wins out of seven in pre-season with a deserved 3-0 defeat of Hapoel Tel Aviv in front of 12,671 spectators at the Millerntor on Saturday afternoon. Marcel Hartel gave his colours the lead just before the interval, with Manolis Saliakas and Eric Smith adding further goals in the second half.
Head coach Fabian Hürzeler was without four players for the curtain-raiser against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Besides long-term absentee Maurides (recovery training after knee surgery), Adam Dźwigała (muscle problem), Etienne Amenyido (minor heel problem) and Oladapo Afolayan (minor hip flexor problem) all missed out. Tactically, Hürzeler opted for the 3-4-3 formation that had worked so well in the second half of last season.
The two teams entered the field of play to a brown, white and red choreo in the South Stand. Around 10,000 fans had filed into the Millerntor for the official season launch and they created a cracking atmosphere. The Boys in Brown pressed from the off and, as Hürzeler had expected, had to deal with a compact, deep-lying Hapoel defence. After his side had struggled to find a gap in the opening stages, Connor Metcalfe got a shot off from ten metres following a long throw-in from the left in the 11th minute, but it was too high. It was to remain the only effort of note for the time being. Hapoel, who ended the season in 11th place in Israel's top flight, rarely ventured into the St. Pauli half, and whenever they did get forward, the move soon broke down.
At the other end, the Hürzeler XI suddenly found themselves in lots of space on the left. After collecting a pass from Jackson Irvine, Elias Saad drifted into the middle, but his shot was too central and posed no problem for Hapoel keeper Emilijus Zubas. With the rain starting to fall, Marcel Hartel won possession just inside his own half and fed the advancing Metcalfe. The pass didn't have enough weight on it, however, and Or Blorian nipped in to clear for a corner. When the ball came in, Eric Smith tried his luck from the edge of the box, but Zubas was on hand again. Four minutes later, the Boys in Brown won possession again, this time through Saad, who passed to Hartel, and his square ball teed up Metcalfe for a shot, but Blorian threw himself in the way to get the block in.
It remained one-way traffic, and when Hartel delivered a cross from the right into the middle, Zubas got down quickly to keep a Saad header out of the bottom left corner. Hartel hit the resulting corner to the near post and found Irvine, but Zubas was there again to prevent the Boys in Brown from taking a long overdue lead. Soon after that, Irvine turned provider for Hartel, but he failed to make a proper connection. Hartel made no such mistake less than 180 seconds later, however. Smith won possession and Hartel motored forward, leaving El yam Kancepolsky in his wake before pinging a shot into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box to leave Zubas no chance.
Fabian Hürzeler made one change for the second half, defensive utility man Hauke Wahl replacing striker Andreas Albers. Wahl slotted into central defence, with Smith moving up into defensive midfield and Hartel going up front. The pattern remained the same, as the Boys in Brown continued to dominate the proceedings and create chances. Four minutes in, Saad dispatched a ball from the left into the middle, where Irvine's effort was blocked and Hartel knocked the rebound just past the post with a rabona*.
Soon after, Hartel delivered a corner from the left to the edge of the box, where Manolis Saliakas met it on the volley. Tal Archer got the block in, but the rebound landed back at the feet of the Greek full-back, and he dispatched it into the bottom left corner from nine metres to make it 2-0 on 54 minutes. Hartel almost made it 3-0 from Metcalfe's ball in, but Zubas got his right hand to the textbook header. Then, Hürzeler made his second substitution, Irvine making way for Danel Sinani. Metcalfe joined Smith in holding midfield, with Sinani taking up a position on the right flank.
After 74 minutes, Metcalfe cut the ball back from the left to Smith, and his shot from just outside the box flew a whisker past the right-hand post. Saad then had an opportunity to make it 3-0 shortly afterwards. After a fine pass from Hartel, he was denied from close range by Zubas. Hürzeler made three more changes for the closing stages, introducing David Nemeth, Lars Ritzka and Johannes Eggestein for Jakov Medić, Philipp Treu and Marcel Hartel, and moments later, it was 3-0, Smith curling an exquisite free-kick into the top-right corner seven minutes from time.
The Boys in Brown then saw out a one-sided contest to win the dress rehearsal before the league campaign kicks off at Kaiserslautern next week.
FC St. Pauli
Vasilj - Medić (Nemeth 78'), Smith, Mets - Saliakas (Günther 86'), Irvine (Sinani 65'), Hartel (Eggestein 78'), Treu (Ritzka 78') - Metcalfe, Albers (Wahl 46'), Saad (Winter 86')
Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Zubas - Bonnet (Genis 62'), Archel, Blorian, Salem (Ramot 78') - Senior (Gurfinkel 62'), Kancepolsky (Keltjens 86'), Einbinder (Cohen 70'), Azugi (Israelov 70'), Benyamin (Alkukin 87') - Ghanem (Tzadik 86')
Head coach: Michael Valkanis
Goals: 1-0 Hartel (41'), 2-0 Saliakas (54'), 3-0 Smith (83')
Yellow cards: Saad - Einbinder
Referee: Jarno Wienefeld (Hamburg)
*In association football, a rabona is the technique of kicking the ball with the kicking leg crossed behind the back of the standing leg; one advantage of the rabona is that it might surprise a defending player.
Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters