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THEUERKAUF FOILS LAST-MINUTE VICTORY IN HEIDENHEIM STALEMATE

FC St. Pauli were held to a goalless draw by FC Heidenheim on Saturday night. A crowd of 29,242 saw a high-octane affair from the off in which both teams squandered chances to score. Heidenheim's Norman Theuerkauf scrambled an Igor Matanović shot off the line in second-half stoppage time to deny the Boys in Brown a last-gasp victory.

Head coach Timo Schultz made four changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Jahn Regensburg last time out. Lars Ritzka and Afeez Aremu came in for the two captains, Leart Paqarada (thigh strain) and Jackson Irvine (one-match ban), while Carlo Boukhalfa and Eric Smith got the nod over Betim Fazliji and Lukas Daschner, the latter captaining the team for the first time in the absence of Paqarada and Irvine.

An almost full-capacity crowd at the Millerntor witnessed a high-intensity affair from the off in which the visitors had the first opportunities. Jan-Niklas Beste pinged a shot well wide of the St. Pauli goal in the third minute and then saw a shot deflected by Jakov Medić just past the left-hand upright. That stung the Boys in Brown into action, and a cross from Manolis Saliakas to Johannes Eggestein was cleared in the nick of time by Patrick Mainka. Marcel Hartel swung in the resulting corner to Jakov Medić with pinpoint accuracy, but his header from five metres fizzed just the wrong side of the far post. The Boys in Brown kept the pressure up and Medić had another opportunity at the back post from a perfectly weighted Smith free-kick. Unfortunately, he didn't get a proper connection on the ball and Heidenheim keeper Kevin Müller made an easy save. Moments later Hartel knocked a inch-perfect ball into the path of Etienne Amenyido, but with just Müller to beat he dragged his shot well off target.

Almost immediately, Nikola Vasilj had to intervene for the first time, comfortably gathering Tim Kleindienst's effort. Angry scenes followed when Andreas Geipl fouled Saliakas with his studs showing but escaped with a caution. He was followed into the book by Timo Schultz, who protested too vehemently for the referee's liking. It remained a hard-fought contest between two teams who kept pushing forward without creating any further chances. Not until injury time did Kleindienst find space to shoot from 20 metres out. His effort flew a whisker past the right-hand upright, ensuring it remained scoreless at the break.

The 13th minute: Jakov Medić climbs highest to meet a corner but directs his header wide of the right-hand post.

The 13th minute: Jakov Medić climbs highest to meet a corner but directs his header wide of the right-hand post.

After the 15-minute interval, during which our blind football team made a lap of honour to warm applause from the crowd for their recent success, the game resumed in the rain. Heidenheim made one change, Kevin Sessa coming on for Geipl, who was on a yellow but also struggling with a knock he had picked up early in the game. The Boys in Brown came flying out of the traps, but the visitors remained a constant threat on the counter. Six minutes in, Kleindienst was left in space in the penalty area, but wasted a good chance after failing to control the ball properly. Soon after, Adrian Beck was played in in the penalty area. After a quick turn, he unleashed a powerful drive from 14 metres and the ball clipped the top of the crossbar to the audible relief of the home support.

A little later, Schultz made his first two changes, birthday boy Lukas Daschner and Connor Metcalfe replacing Carlo Boukhalfa and Johannes Eggestein. Both made an immediate impact. Daschner won a free-kick near the byline on the right that Smith floated across to the back post, where Metcalfe outjumped his markers, only to steer his header agonisingly wide of the near post.

Heidenheim then enjoyed a brief spell of sustained pressure, but the home defence joined forces to snuff out shots by Beste and Kleindienst. With the game entering the final quarter of an hour, Schultz made his second double substitution, introducing Adam Dźwigała and Igor Matanović for Lars Ritzka and Etienne Amenyido and then adding Betim Fazliji for Afeez Aremu a few minutes later. Roared on by the home crowd, the Schultz XI threw everything at it in the closing stages and suddenly the game was there for the taking in time added on. Metcalfe collected a Daschner cross and cut the ball back for Matanović to shoot. His effort was deflected by Jonas Föhrenbach and then cleared off the line by Norman Theuerkauf, and so it remained scoreless.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Saliakas, Nemeth, Medić, Ritzka (Dźwigała 75') - Boukhalfa (Daschner 58'), Aremu (Fazliji 81'), Smith, Hartel - Amenyido (Matanović 75'), Eggestein (Metcalfe 58')

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

FC Heidenheim

Müller - Siersleben, Maloney (Theuerkauf 90'+1), Mainka, Föhrenbach - Geipl (Sessa 46') - Best, Thomalla, Beck (Qenaj 84'), Kühlwetter (Rittmüller 75') - Kleindienst

Head coach: Frank Schmidt

 

Goals: none

Yellow cards: Schultz, Smith, Fazliji - Geipl, Maloney, Beste, Kühlwetter, Kleindienst

Referee: Sven Waschitzki-Günther (Bremen)

Attendance: 29,242

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters

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