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BOYS IN BROWN SUNK BY TEN-MEN KIEL

FC St. Pauli slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Holstein Kiel on Saturday. Alex Meier opened the scoring from the spot on 43 minutes after being tugged back by Stefan Thesker (red card). Despite being a man down, however, the home side turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes from Alexander Mühling (penalty) and Jae-sung Lee. The Boys in Brown had a host of chances to equalise in the closing stages but were unable to find the net.

Markus Kauczinski was without the injured Robin Himmelmann (pulled muscle) for the trip north, leaving Svend Brodersen to deputise between the posts. The head coach made two more changes to the side that was held to a goalless draw by MSV Duisburg last week. Jeremy Dudziak began in place of Ersin Zehir, while Waldemar Sobota replaced Ryo Miyaichi on the right flank. Christopher Avevor led the team out as captain, a first for the Kiel-born defender in his 98th competitive appearance for the club.

The game began in almost perfect conditions (packed stadium, superb pitch, bright sunshine and a pleasant 15 degrees), with both sides targeting the win that would keep them in contention at the top end of the table. Kiel seized the initiative early on, but Brodersen and Avevor were on hand to snuff out their opening forays upfield. Brodersen then gathered a distance shot from Masaya Okugawa before Jonas Meffert and Alexander Mühling aimed too high, the former with a header, the latter with an attempt from just inside the box.

After that ten-minute spell of pressure, the Boys in Brown earned themselves some respite and were able to keep their opponents in check, restricting them to a solitary effort from distance by Jannik Dehm in the 19th minute. Kauczinski's side lacked punch themselves going forward, however. Play was interrupted on the half-hour for Brodersen to receive treatment after an aerial duel with Jae-sung Lee on the edge of the box. Thankfully, the keeper was able to continue.

The home side were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead on 34 minutes when Lee headed a ball into the box back across goal to the unmarked Okugawa, who directed his header over the crossbar. At the other end, Mats Møller Dæhli drove into the Kiel penalty area from the left-hand side, only to see his shot took a decisive deflection.

It all went very quickly after that. Sobota collected a wayward pass from Stefan Thesker in the Kiel half and fed Knoll, who in turn slipped the ball through to Alex Meier. Thesker pulled Meier back by the shirt, and referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot before brandishing a red card for the Kiel defender. Meier grabbed the ball and converted the spot-kick with aplomb. After Knoll had dispatched a free-kick a couple of metres over the crossbar in the second minute of time added on, Zwayer blew for half-time.

Goalscorer Alex Meier shields the ball from Kiel's Alexander Mühling (8) and Atakan Karazor (22).

Goalscorer Alex Meier shields the ball from Kiel's Alexander Mühling (8) and Atakan Karazor (22).

Both teams emerged unchanged for the second half. In the absence of Thesker, Kiel began with a back three, while the Boys in Brown stuck with their 4-2-3-1 formation. The second half was barely four minutes old when Zwayer pointed to the spot again, this time for a foul by Avevor on Mathias Honsak right on the line of the box. Alexander Mühling stepped up and smashed the penalty just past the outstretched hand of Brodersen.

If that was bad, it was to get even worse just three minutes later. Kiel goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm knocked a long ball to Okugawa, who shrugged off the challenge of Florian Carstens and delivered a low cross into the middle for Lee to make it 2-1 from close range. Kauczinski responded by introducing midfielder Ersin Zehir for left-back Daniel Buballa with 58 minutes gone.

Now operating with a back three, the Boys in Brown had just over half an hour to cancel out the deficit. Kiel, who replaced midfielder Jonas Meffert with a defender in Dominik Schmidt, stayed deep and compact but remained a constant threat on the break. A man to the good, Kauczinski's side dominated the possession but still lacked inspiration, resulting in a second substitution in striker Sami Allagui for midfielder Dudziak on 68 minutes.

The next chance fell to Kiel, however, Okugawa forcing Brodersen into a save with his foot. With the game entering the closing stages, Buchtmann set up Zehir, but his shot from the edge of the box was no problem for Kronholm. Soon after that, Kauczinski rolled the dice a final time, throwing on the attack-minded Ryo Miyaichi for right-back Florian Carstens on 76.

It was all St. Pauli by this stage. Meier was presented with a chance to equalise on 77 when Kronholm misjudged a cross from Zehir, but under pressure from Schmidt he couldn't keep his header down and the ball flew over. Zehir tried his luck again two minutes later, this time producing a spectacular save from Kronholm with a drive from outside the area.

The Boys in Brown kept pushing. Knoll dispatched a corner into the middle, where Meier's looping header was only half-cleared by the Kiel defence. The ball fell to Miyaichi, who drilled a shot well over from ten metres when looking favourite to score. There had hardly been time to draw breath when Knoll picked out Møller Dæhli, who was denied brilliantly twice in succession by Kronholm. Knoll and Allagui both had shots charged down in the box before Meier curled a free-kick just past the angle with three minutes of regulation time left.

Holstein Kiel

Kronholm - Dehm, Thesker, Wahl, van den Bergh - Karazor - Mühling, Meffert (Schmidt 62') - Lee (Seydel 73') - Okugawa (Bisseck 88'), Honsak

Head coach: Tim Walter

 

FC St. Pauli

Brodersen - Carstens (Miyaichi 76'), Avevor, Hoogma, Buballa (Zehir 58') - Dudziak (Allagui 68'), Knoll - Sobota, Buchtmann, Møller Dæhli - Alex Meier

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski

 

Goals: 0-1 Alex Meier (pen. 43'), 1-1 Mühling (pen. 50'), 2-1 Lee (53')

Yellow cards: Van den Bergh, Lee – Dudziak, Avevor

Red card: Thesker (professional foul 41')

Referee: Felix Zwayer

Attendance: 13,000 (sold out)

 

Photos: Witters

 

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