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FC St. Pauli emerged victorious from their final away game of the season, beating Holstein Kiel by four goals to three on Friday evening. The Hürzeler XI fell behind to a 28th minute penalty by Steven Skrzybski but Dapo Afolayan restored parity before the break. A Hauke Wahl own goal, Lukas Daschner from the edge of the area, and another own goal by Mikkel Kirkeskov gave the Boys in Brown a 4-1 lead before like strikes from Marco Komenda and Fabian Reese made for an exciting finale. Afolayan also saw a second yellow just before the end. 

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler named an unchanged side after last week’s scoreless draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf, though Carlo Boukhalfa did come into the squad for Betim Fazliji. Alexander Mühling dropped into defensive midfield for the home side, while forward Steven Skrzybski operated as a lone striker, which meant Kwasi Wriedt had to be satisfied with a place on the bench. Several departing Kiel players were given an emotional send-off before the kick-off, among them the 36-year-old Fin Bartels, who made 122 competitive appearances (22 goals, 22 assists) for the Boys in Brown between 2010 and 2014 and retires at the end of the season. Captain Hauke Wahl, Alexander Mühling, Fabian Reese, Mikkel Kirkeskov, Simon Lorenz, Stefan Thesker, Aleksandar Ignjovski, Julian Korb and former St. Pauli keeper Robin Himmelmann, who joined the Storks during the winter break, are also leaving the club.

Kiel began courageously and made the better start, threatening after just three minutes when Fabian Reese scampered down the right and whipped in a cross that only just evaded Bartels. The Hürzeler XI quickly regained their poise after that narrow escape and registered two attempts on goal through Manolis Saliakas in the opening stages. Both shots, one a volley from range, the other a free-kick, flew some way over the crossbar. After that, the Boys in Brown gradually imposed themselves on the proceedings, making their attacking presence felt through their high full-backs Saliakas and Leart Paqarada, while keeping the Storks well away from their goal. Until the 27th minute, that is, when Nikola Vasilj rushed out of his goal in an attempt to deal with a looping ball and collided with Bartels, prompting referee Robert Kampka to point to the spot. Skrzybski stepped up to convert the penalty with aplomb. 

Undaunted, the Boys in Brown continued to play football and got their reward in the 39th minute when Dapo Afolayan cut in from the right and, after easing past a couple of defenders, sent Thomas Dähne the wrong way with a shot from just inside the box to level the scores. 

A jubilant Dapo Afolayan celebrates after his 39th minute equaliser.

A jubilant Dapo Afolayan celebrates after his 39th minute equaliser.

Both teams emerged unchanged for the second period and Reese almost restored the home side’s advantage almost immediately when he latched on to a through ball and, with just the keeper to beat, was denied by a fine save from Vasilj. At the other end, the Hürzeler XI threatened for the first time after the restart on 53 – and how. After Reese had handled out on the left, Marcel Hartel dispatched the resulting free-kick into the danger area, where Jakov Medić and Hauke Wahl both went to meet it, only for the Kiel defender to head the ball into his own net.

Not content with having come from behind to lead, the Boys in Brown continued where they left off and extended their advantage with an hour gone. A long ball found Afolayan on the right flank, who sidestepped a marker and picked out Lukas Daschner in the middle, and he curled it first time into the top right corner with the inside of his foot. And there was even more to come. Though the home side stepped up their attacking efforts, it was St. Pauli who found the net once again. Paqarada played a one-two with Saad before dispatching a shot past the keeper. The ball took a big deflection off Mikkel Kirkeskov on its way over the line but nevertheless the goal was later credited to the left-back. Just four minutes later, however, the home side reduced the deficit when substitute Marco Komenda struck a low shot into the bottom corner.

Kiel had their tails up now and after forcing the Hürzeler XI into a wayward pass in the build-up with their high press they almost grabbed another, Vasilj just about managing to tip Reese’s lob over the bar. Just before the end Afolayan was shown a second yellow card for re-entering the field of play without permission, leaving the Boys in Brown to contest the closing stages a man down. The home side went for broke and pulled another goal back through Fabian Reese in the third minute of time added on, but that was all they could manage, and the Boys in Brown held on to celebrate their first win at Kiel since 2017.

Holstein Kiel

Dähne - Becker, Wahl (C), Thesker (Pichler 68’), Kirkeskov - Sander, Mühling (Porath 75’) - Bartels (Wriedt 89’), Holtby, Reese - Skrzybski (Komenda 75’)

Head coach: Marcel Rapp


FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Medić, Smith, Mets - Saliakas (Zander 90’+4), Irvine, Hartel, Paqarada (C) - Afolayan, Daschner (79. Eggestein), Saad (Metcalfe 79.)

Cheftrainer: Fabian Hürzeler


Goals: 1-0 Skrzybski (pen. 28.), 1-1 Afolayan (39’), 1:2 Wahl (o.g. 53.), 1-3 Daschner (63’), 1-4 Paqarada (74’), 2-4 Komenda (78’), 3-4 Reese (90’+3)

Yellow cards: Becker, Bartels – Afolayan

Red card (second yellow): Afolayan

Referee: Robert Kampka (Mainz)

Attendance: 15,034 (sold out)


Photos: FC St. Pauli