BOYS IN BROWN HELD BY KSC AS PAQARADA SIGNS OFF WITH A GOAL
Sunday, 28. May 2023, 18:38 Uhr
FC St. Pauli had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Karlsruher SC in the final game of the season on Sunday. The Boys in Brown dominated from the off in front of a capacity crowd, but it was the visitors who took the lead through Fabian Schleusener on the stroke of half-time. Leart Paqarada grabbed a deserved 58th minute equaliser on his final appearance for the club but for all their superiority the Hürzeler XI were unable to find a winner.
Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made one adjustment to his side for the final game of the season against Karlsruher SC, Connor Metcalfe coming in for Oladapo Afolayan, who was sent off in last week’s 4-3 win at Kiel. In his 102nd competitive appearance for the club, Leart Paqarada led the team out onto another perfectly prepared pitch. With two teams set to go all out to end the campaign on a high in a crackling atmosphere served up by another packed house, it had all the makings of a fitting finale.
After a season of two halves, the Boys in Brown went into the game hoping to put on a party and, looking resplendent in the new home shirt, they fashioned the first chance of the game three minutes in when Daniel Gordon managed to block a Lukas Daschner shot in the nick of time. Five minutes later, Leart Paqarada angled a brilliant crossfield pass to Connor Metcalfe and he cut inside from the right before bending a shot against the inside of the far post from 15 metres. The visitors threatened for the first time on 16 following a long ball by Paul Nebel to the advancing Fabian Schleusener on the left flank, but his shot flew well wide of the target.
In an opening period otherwise low on highlights, with both teams intelligently stifling each other’s build-up play, Daschner registered the next opportunity in the 20th minute after being afforded a tad too much space on the edge of the area, but KSC keeper Marius Gersbeck had no trouble dealing with his low drive. The Boys in Brown were enjoying more of the possession but lacked the tools to unlock the KSC defence. Paqarada tried his luck from 25 metres on the half hour, but Gersbeck got down quickly to make the save. Soon after Paqarada hoicked an undercooked clearance well wide. Daschner went much closer with another distance effort two minutes later, but his shot flashed a metre past the right-hand post.
Out of the blue, KSC carved out their first genuine chance of the game on 41 minutes when Mikkel Kaufmann dispatched a low ball into the middle for Leon Jensen, whose 14-metre drive was blocked by a last-minute lunge from Manolis Saliakas – a fantastic intervention by the Greek full-back to prevent his side from falling behind. His effort was matched at the other end five minutes later by Gersbeck, who produced a brilliant stop to keep out a powerful Karol Mets header. Almost immediately, the visitors took the lead. A long ball forward prised open the St. Pauli defence and Schleusener left Nikola Vasilj, who had had very little to do until then, no chance from 14 metres.
The Boys in Brown, who began the second half with Afeez Aremu on for Jackson Irvine, came out determined not to end the campaign with a defeat. They racked up the pressure, but with the deep-lying visitors keeping things tight at the back, struggled to find a way through. Then, Eric Smith picked out Daschner on the edge of the box and he wasted no time getting off a shot, but it was too centrally placed to trouble Gersbeck.
KSC were completely anonymous in attack in this phase of the game, content to wait for a chance to break. For the most part, Vasilj was the only player not in the Karlsruhe half. And then, finally, the scores were level. After Daschner had dallied a little too long, Metcalfe saw a shot parried by Gersbeck. The loose ball eventually ended up at the feet of Paqarada on the edge of the box, and his shot on the turn found the bottom-right corner.
Hürzeler made his first substitution with 67 minutes gone. Having successfully recovered from a shoulder injury, Igor Matanović, who will join Eintracht Frankfurt in summer, came on for Elias Saad. The Boys in Brown continued to dictate the proceedings, with the visitors sticking by their game plan of waiting for a chance to counter. As the game entered the closing stages, Hürzeler introduced another player who is leaving the club in Luca Zander for Manolis Saliakas. It was his 121st competitive appearance for the club in a seven-year spell at the Millerntor. Johannes Eggestein also came on for Connor Metcalfe. Moments after coming on, Eggestein had an 18-metre curler saved by Gersbeck.
Emotional scenes followed in the 84th minute when Paqarada left the Millerntor turf for a final time to a standing ovation from the home crowd. He was replaced by Lars Ritzka. Two minutes later, the otherwise impressive Gersbeck misjudged the flight of the ball from a Hartel corner, but Eggestein directed his header wide of the right-hand post. Hürzeler ordered centre-back Jakov Medić upfield for the final few minutes but it wasn’t to be. His side were unable to conjure up a winner in the four minutes of time added on and had to settle for a draw and fifth place in the table due to Fortuna Düsseldorf winning 3-0 at FC Kaiserslautern.
FC St. Pauli
Vasilj - Mets, Smith, Medić - Saliakas (Zander 74’), Irvine (Aremu 46’), Hartel, Paqarada (Ritzka 84’) - Metcalfe (Eggestein 74’), Daschner, Saad (Matanović 67’)
Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler
Gersbeck - Jung, Gordon, Kobald, Brosinski (Heise 16’) - Jensen (Rapp 85’), Cueto (Thiede 85’), Wanitzek, Nebel - Schleusener (Zivzivadze 85’), Kaufmann (Rossmann 68’)
Head coach: Christian Eichner
Goals: 0-1 Schleusener (45’+2), 1-1 Paqarada (58’)
Yellow cards: Mets, Ritzka – Cueto, Nebel, Kobald
Referee: Patrick Alt (Illingen)
Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)
Photos: FC St. Pauli