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FC St. Pauli won the explosive matchup with Hansa Rostock 3-2 on Saturday in front of a sell-out 27,100 crowd. The home side took an early lead through a Junior Brumado penalty before Manolis Saliakas, Marcel Hartel and Oladapo Afolayan turned the game round within the space of eight minutes. The Boys in Brown continued to dominate the proceedings after the interval until another Brumado spot-kick made for an exciting finale ten minutes from time, but the lads saw the game out to seal the victory.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made one change to the side that played out a goalless draw with Hannover 96 last time out, captain Jackson Irvine returning to the starting lineup after serving a one-match ban. Connor Metcalfe made way for his Australia teammate, and he was joined on the bench by Maurides on his first appearance in the squad after 251 days out with injury. Hansa coach Alois Schwartz made two adjustments after the 2-1 win at FC Magdeburg. Kai Pröger began for the suspended Svante Ingelsson and Oliver Hüsing replaced Jonas David.

The game kicked off in bright sunshine and a cracking atmosphere created by a sell-out crowd, and after a brief interruption to allow some smoke to clear, Nils Fröling squandered the opening chance for the home side in the eighth minute. From the resulting corner, Oliver Hüsing headed against the right-hand post, and in the goalmouth scramble that followed, Fröling's rebound effort struck Eric Smith on his outstretched right arm. Referee Robin Braun pointed to the spot and Junior Brumado converted the penalty with aplomb.

Any doubts as to how the Boys in Brown would respond to the early setback were soon dispelled when they switched on the turbo and turned the game round within minutes. Rostock were initially able to block shots from Marcel Hartel and Johannes Eggestein but there was nothing they could do to prevent the equaliser on the quarter-hour. Following a throw-in on the left-hand side the ball found its way to Manolis Saliakas via Hartel and Smith, and he smashed a shot into the top-left corner from almost 25 metres. What a hit! Just three minutes later, Saliakas turned provider, knocking the ball into the middle to Hartel. His initial effort from ten metres was parried by Hansa keeper Markus Kolke, but the No10 was quick to react and blasted the ball into the net from close range to make it 2-1. And there was more to come. Just five minutes after that, Elias Saad won possession on the edge of the Rostock area and fed Oladapo Afolayan, who wasted no time in dispatching a low shot into the bottom left corner to double the advantage on 23 minutes.

The Hürzeler XI continued to dictate the play, primarily because they gave nothing away at the back and, as called for before the game, showed no mercy in the tackle, winning far more challenges than the hosts. In the 38th minute, Philipp Treu tried his luck from distance, but Kolke gathered safely, and then the Boys in Brown failed to take advantage on the counter despite having two men over. Eggestein could have added a fourth after a pass from Saad, but Kolke stuck out a hand to produce a fine save. In the final action of the half, Smith curled a free-kick over the crossbar from 22 metres.

Marcel Hartel cuts a fine figure in making it 2-1 on the quarter-hour.

Marcel Hartel cuts a fine figure in making it 2-1 on the quarter-hour.

Both teams emerged unchanged for the second half. Rostock had the first opportunity on 48, but Christian Kinsombi's effort was no problem for Nikola Vasilj. Almost immediately, Irvine burst clear on the right and squared the ball for Saad at the far post, but with the goal at his mercy he shot into the side netting. The pattern remained much the same as in the first half, with the Hürzeler XI dictating the play and moving the ball around nicely, while Rostock were too harmless in attack to threaten a comeback.

With 57 minutes gone, the Boys in Brown launched another counterattack. Hartel slipped the ball to the advancing Saliakas, who cut inside from the right and went for goal with his weaker left foot. Kolke gathered safely. At the other end, Sebastian Vasiliadis tried his luck from range but missed the target by some distance. Rostock then made a double substitution, strengthening their attack with the introduction of Kevin Schumacher and Juan José Perea. The home side were now more active in the counterpress and stepped up their attacking efforts, and on 72 Perea headed just wide of the right-hand upright.

Afolayan ended his shift 17 minutes from time, and his replacement, Connor Metcalfe, was in the action straightaway, delivering a ball in from the right for Saad to tee up Eggestein, whose shot on the turn flew just wide of the left-hand post. That would have just about settled it, had it gone in, but then Braun awarded another penalty for the home side when Karol Mets held Perea in the box. Brumado stepped up to beat Vasilj from the spot again and half the deficit.

That made for a lively finale, in which the play ebbed back and forth. Brumado headed a Perea cross just over the top four minutes from the end of regulation time, much to the relief of everyone in brown and white. At the other end, Saliakas was denied by a last-gasp tackle from Hüsing before Rostock fashioned another huge chance for Schumacher to shoot from the left channel. Fortunately, his shot rolled a whisker past the far post. That was much too close for comfort. The home side had one more attempt in the eighth minute of stoppage time when Brumado placed a shot over the crossbar, and then it was all over, leaving the Boys in Brown and the 2,600 travelling fans to celebrate a crucial victory on the Baltic Coast.

Hansa Rostock

Kolke - Van der Werff, Hüsing, Roßbach, Rossipal - Dressel, Vasiliadis (Güler 87') - Fröling (Schumacher 65'), Pröger (Singh 87'), C. Kinsombi (Perea 65') - Junior Brumado

Head coach: Alois Schwartz


FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Saliakas (Ritzka 90'+1), Irvine, Hartel, Treu - Saad (Amenyido 85'), Eggestein, Afolayan (Metcalfe 73')

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Goals: 1-0 Junior Brumado (pen. 9'), 1-1 Saliakas (15'), 1-2 Hartel (18'), 1-3 Afolayan (23'), 2-3 Junior Brumado (pen. 80')

Yellow cards: Hüsing, Junior Brumado – Eggestein

Referee: Robin Braun (Wuppertal)

Attendance: 27,100 (sold out)


Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters