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TREU’S PILEDRIVER SEALS 2-1 WIN OVER KARLSRUHE

FC St. Pauli came from behind to beat Karlsruher SC 2-1 in front of 29,125 spectators at the Millerntor on Saturday afternoon. Old boy Igor Matanović gave the visitors a half-time lead, but the Boys in Brown got their reward for a barnstorming home performance with late goals from Johannes Eggestein and Philipp Treu.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made two changes to the side that drew at Paderborn last time out. Eric Smith returned to the back three after recovering from a groin injury, while Connor Metcalfe came in for Elias Saad. Karlsruhe boss Christian Eichner was without a number of players due to injury or illness, including captain Jerome Gondorf. In Igor Matanović and Marcel Beifus, the KSC squad featured two players who wore the brown-and-white colours last season, while assistant coach Zlatan Bajramović also has an FCSP past.

The Hürzeler XI registered the first attempt on goal with six minutes gone. Under good pressure from Connor Metcalfe, KSC centre-back Marcel Franke played the ball straight to Dapo Afolayan, who took a couple of touches before pulling the trigger from just outside the box. His low drive was no problem for Karlsruhe keeper Patrick Drewes, however. Yet the visitors, wearing all white, pressed the Boys in Brown early, too, and after quickly winning possession fashioned a shooting opportunity for Fabian Schleusener in the right channel, his angled drive producing a smart reflex save from Nikola Vasilj. A bright start that promised more to come, even though the KSC midfield diamond kept things so tight in the centre that Hürzeler’s charges struggled to find a way through in the opening quarter of an hour.

One effective antidote to that tactic was to play down the flanks, and with Johannes Eggestein drifting out wide to link up with Manolis Saliakas and Connor Metcalfe, the right-hand side offered several opportunities to threaten in the KSC box. Drewes had little trouble dealing with one of them, a Marcel Hartel header, but will have been relieved to see a firmly struck drive from Dapo Afolayan fizz narrowly over the crossbar in the 20th minute. A Connor Metcalfe header just two minutes suffered the same fate. The Boys in Brown continued to dominate and looked the likelier to score, and it was skipper Jackson Irvine who came closest on 33 when Connor Metcalfe headed a left-wing cross back across goal to his Australia teammate, only for Drewes to throw himself in the way and prevent the opening goal.

Then, with everybody expecting the half to end scoreless, the visitors struck in clinical fashion two minutes before the break. St. Pauli youth product Igor Matanović, of all people, was perfectly placed to pounce on a loose ball and smash an unstoppable shot past Vasilj to give his side a half-time lead.

Dapo Afolayan goes for goal.

Dapo Afolayan goes for goal.

Hürzeler introduced Elias Saad for Dapo Afolayan at the start of the second half, while KSC came out unchanged. It took his players five minutes to carve out the first decent opportunity. Eric Smith drilled a pass half the length of the pitch straight into the path of Metcalfe, who then pinged a low pass into the danger area. The ball evaded just about everyone until it was met by Saad almost on the edge of the area, and his shot on goal was hooked clear by Robin Bormuth before it could cross the line.

As in the first period, the visitors continued to close down the space in the middle of the park, preventing the Boys in Brown from unleashing their quick passing game against the packed Karlsruhe ranks. Hürzeler responded with an hour gone, throwing on fresh legs in attacking players Danel Sinani and Simon Zoller for Manolis Saliakas and Lars Ritzka. The pressure eventually began to tell around the 70th minute mark, as the chances began to arrive by the busload. The best opportunity in this phase came when Hartel and Saad linked up to set up Danel Sinani, whose angled drive took a slight deflection before a rolling a whisker past the far post. 

Into the final quarter of an hour and it was one-way traffic by now. Almost inevitably, the Boys in Brown were rewarded for their efforts in the 80th minute when Eggestein chested the ball down in textbook fashion, held off the challenge of three defenders, and dispatched an unstoppable shot on the turn past Drewes and into the bottom corner to notch his fifth goal of the season. Moments later the ball was nestling in the Karlsruhe net once again, but this time Simon Zoller’s goal didn’t count as Elias Saad was adjudged to have fouled Drewes in the run-up. The Hürzeler XI refused to let that knock them out of their stride, however, and went all out in search of victory. Hartel fired just wide five minutes from the end of regulation time, and Eggestein, from a narrow header, and Zollers, with a header from a corner, were both denied by the KSC keeper, leaving the home fans almost pulling their hair out in frustration.

But the frustration turned to unbridled joy in time added on when substitute Philipp Treu went up for a stoppage-time corner and hammered a half-cleared header into the net on the half-volley to register his first competitive goal for the club. And what an important one it was, too, for it sealed a deserved victory for the Boys in Brown against a dogged Karlsruhe side. 

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Saliakas (Sinani 66’), Irvine (C), Hartel, Ritzka (Zoller 66’) - Metcalfe (Treu 83’), Eggestein (Amenyido 90’), Afolayan (Saad 46’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler

 

Karlsruher SC

Drewes - Jung (Thiede 73’), Franke, Bormuth, Herold - Jensen (Burnić 79’), Nebel, Wanitzek (C) - Stindl (Beifus 89’) - Schleusener, Matanović (Zivzivadze 79’)

Head coach: Christian Eichner

 

Goals: 0-1 Matanović (43’), 1-1 Eggestein (80’), 2-1 Treu (90’+3)

Yellow cards: Smith, Németh – Schleusener, Stindl

Refereee: Dr Max Burda (Berlin)

Attendance: 29,125 (sold out)

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters

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