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BOYS IN BROWN STAY TOP AFTER 2-2 DRAW AT PADERBORN

FC St. Pauli drew 1-1 at SC Paderborn 07 in front of a sell-out 15,000 crowd at the Home Deluxe Arena on Saturday afternoon. Florent Muslija opened the scoring for the home side early on with a brilliant effort from 55 metres. Johannes Eggestein levelled the scores just after the restart before Jackson Irvine completed the comeback 12 minutes from time, only for Filip Bilbija to restore parity soon after. While the Boys in Brown were unable to make it five wins on the bounce, they are still unbeaten and stay top of the table.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made one enforced change to the side that beat Nürnberg 5-1 a fortnight ago. Eric Smith failed a late fitness test due to groin injury and was replaced by Adam Dźwigała, with Simon Zoller filling the vacant space in the squad. After the 3-1 victory at Eintracht Braunschweig last time out, Paderborn coach Lukas Kwasniok opted for David Kinsombi and Filip Bilbija in place of Kai Klefisch and Ilyas Ansah.

Before kick-off, both teams and both sets of fans observed a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the Middle East conflict. The game kicked off in intermittent sunshine, and the 15,000 fans inside the packed Home Deluxe Arena saw Paderborn take the lead with a candidate for the Goal of the Month award on eight minutes when Florent Muslija intercepted a wayward pass from Elias Saad in his own half and, after advancing a few metres towards the halfway line, caught Nikola Vasilj off guard and off his line with a speculative effort from 55 metres. The ball flew into the top-left corner of the net to leave the Boys in Brown chasing a deficit for the first time this season.

With the Hürzeler XI lacking the creative spark, precision and tempo in their passing game, it took them some time to unlock the tight Paderborn rearguard. Oladapo Afolayan went for goal from the edge of the box on 21, but his effort was blocked. The Boys in Brown began to edge the possession but were unable to capitalise, and it remained an evenly balanced contest. The unmarked Adriano Grimaldi headed well wide from a corner on 28, and at the other end Manolis Saliakas whipped a low cross into the middle for Jackson Irvine to hit first time from just outside the box. Paderborn keeper Jannik Huth had no trouble making the save, however.

It remained a tactical battle in which both teams gave little away at the back. Muslija had a decent opportunity four minutes from the break, his low drive from the left channel fizzing past the far post. Within a minute the Boys in Brown could have been level when Huth misjudged the flight of the ball from a corner, but Tobias Müller was able to hook the ball off the line. Irvine then headed a Ritzka cross over the crossbar on the stroke of half-time.

Johannes Eggestein surrounded by three opponents.

Johannes Eggestein surrounded by three opponents.

Hürzeler made one change for the second half, introducing Connor Metcalfe for Elias Saad, while Paderborn came back out unchanged. And the Australian had a great  opportunity to equalise within the first 60 seconds following an excellent square ball from Johannes Eggestein, but he got underneath it and scooped the shot well over the crossbar when completely unmarked. That should have been 1-1. It was all forgotten two minutes later, however. Ritzka knocked a corner short to Marcel Hartel and his whipped-in ball was headed into the bottom right-hand corner by Eggestein.

Backed by 2,300 travelling fans, the Boys in Brown began to take control of the proceedings, with Paderborn sitting back content to wait for a chance to break at pace. Only rarely did the home side escape the St. Pauli stranglehold and on 59 minutes Hartel won a free-kick on the edge of the area. He took it himself but was unable to keep it down and the ball flew over the crossbar. Kwasniok responded to the increasing dominance of the Hürzeler XI and introduced Kai Klefisch to bolster the midfield, striker Adriano Grimaldi the man to make way.

But then, Paderborn almost restored their advantage out of the blue when Bilbija shrugged of the challenges of Saliakas and Karol Mets and was able to pick his corner with just Vasilj to beat. He went for the right one but was denied by an outstanding save from the keeper.

With the game entering the final quarter of an hour, Hürzeler made his second substitution, Philipp Treu coming on for Manolis Saliakas. And within two minutes, Treu and his teammates were celebrating. Eggestein hit the right-hand upright with a low drive from just outside the box, but the rebound landed at the feet of Irvine, and he guided the ball into the empty net from 12 metres to make it 2-1. The joy proved short-lived, however, as the home side restored parity just four minutes later. Sirlord Conteh, who had only just come on, burst down the right-hand side and crossed the ball for Bilbija to slot past Vasilj from six metres.

In time added on, Paderborn substitute Robert Leipertz thought he had given his side the lead when a Conteh effort came back off the post, but Bilbija had strayed offside in the build-up and the goal was disallowed. At the other end, Klefisch cleared a Mets header off the line and that was that. The Hürzeler XI may have failed to secure their fifth win in succession, but they are now unbeaten in 16 outings and stay on top of the table.

SC Paderborn 07

Huth - Schuster, Müller (Musliu 83’), Hoffmeier - Obermair, Kinsombi, Hansen (Nadj 81’), Muslija (Leipertz 86’) - Bilbija, Klaas (Conteh 81’) - Grimaldi (Klefisch 68’)

Head coach: Lukas Kwasniok

 

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Dźwigała, Wahl, Mets - Saliakas (Treu 76’), Irvine, Hartel, Ritzka - Afolayan (Zoller 88’), Eggestein (Amenyido 88’), Saad (Metcalfe 46’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler

 

Goals: 1-0 Muslija (8’), 1-1 Eggestein (48’), 1-2 Irvine (78’), 2-2 Bilbija (82’)

Yellow cards: Dźwigała

Referee: Martin Petersen (Stuttgart)

Attendance: 15,000 (sold out)

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters

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