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Saad gets two in 4-1 defeat of Sabah FC

FC St. Pauli beat Sabah FC 4-1 in a friendly on Saturday lunchtime. Elias Saad (2) and Oladapo Afolayan gave the Boys in Brown a three-goal first-half against the side who finished second in the Azerbaijan Premier League last season, though Joy-Lance Mickels reduced the deficit for Sabah in the 57th minute. Andreas Albers made the final score 4-1 on 80.

After a brief feeling-out period, Fabian Hürzeler's team gradually took control of the game but were unable to create any goalscoring opportunities of note in the early stages. The first decent chance produced the opening goal, however, Elias Saad cutting inside from the left after 17 minutes and registering from just outside the box with a shot that hit the inside of the post before nestling in the net.

Two minutes later, Saad delivered a cross into the middle from the left and Oladapo Afolayan was perfectly placed to double the advantage. The next goal wasn't long in coming either, Saad netting from an acute angle after collecting a long ball forward on his chest. After a short drinks break, the Boys in Brown continued to dominate the proceedings. They gave nothing away at the back and almost added a fourth through Eric Smith on 34, but his free-kick from 18 metres was saved by Sabah keeper Yusif Imanov.

Elias Saad beats Sabah keeper Yusif Imanov from an acute angle to notch his second goal.

Elias Saad beats Sabah keeper Yusif Imanov from an acute angle to notch his second goal.

The Boys in Brown emerged unchanged for the second half and the pattern remained very much the same. Hürzeler's charges controlled the game, though the intensity did drop off a little in the heat. Afolayan was repeatedly put to good use and could have made it four on 56, only to be denied from close range by Imanov. Then, Sabah struck completely out of the blue, Joy-Lance Mickels netting after a mistake in the build-up. Sabah again took advantage of more sloppiness at the back to create further opportunities in the next couple of minutes. Mickels missed the target with the first one before Nikola Vasilj produced a strong save to keep the score at 3-1.

Hürzeler made a triple substitution shortly afterwards, Jackson Irvine, Marcel Hartel and Oladapo Afolayan making way for Niklas Jessen, Bennet Winter and David Otto. The game entered the final stages after another drinks break, and tempers flared briefly after a crunching tackle on Saad. Moments later, however, the Boys in Brown were celebrating their fourth goal when Andreas Albers left his marker standing and drilled a low shot past Imanov. There were more chances for both sides in the last few minutes, but no goals. First, substitute David Volkov fired over, while at the other end Otto saw a horizontal bicycle kick saved by Imanov.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Medić, Smith, Mets - Saliakas, Irvine (Jessen 62’), Hartel (Winter 62’), Treu - Afolayan (Otto 62’), Albers, Saad

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Sabah FK (starting lineup)

Imanov - Camalov, Seydiyev, Irazabal, Apeh, Letić, Mickels, Alasgarov, Nuriiev, Isaev, Chakla

Head coach: Murad Musaev


Goals: 1-0 Saad (17’), 2-0 Afolayan (19’), 3-0 Saad (24’), 3-1 Mickels (57’), 4-1 Albers (80’)

Yellow cards: Mets

Attendance: approx. 100


Photos: FC St. Pauli / Witters