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LATE SAAD STRIKE NOT ENOUGH TO WARD OFF DEFEAT AT SCHALKE

FC St. Pauli lost 3-1 at FC Schalke 04 on Friday evening. Yusuf Kabadayi gave the home side a two-goal lead before Elias Saad pulled one back in the 89th minute, only for Kenan Karaman to condemn the Boys in Brown to defeat with a third goal in stoppage time.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler went with the same 11 players who started the 4-3 win at Holstein Kiel last week, which meant that Marcel Hartel again operated as a false nine and Aljoscha Kemlein partnered captain Jackson Irvine in central midfield. David Nemeth missed out on a place in the squad due to a minor muscle problem, but Elias Saad returned after serving his one-match ban and took his place on the bench. Schalke boss Karel Geraerts, in contrast, made five adjustments to the team that lost 3-0 at Magdeburg last time out, Derry Murkin, Simon Terodde, Bryan Lasme, Yusuf Kabadayi and Brandon Soppy all coming in for the Royal Blues, who also switched from a back five to a back four.

The two sides felt each other out in the opening stages, with the Boys in Brown looking the busier. And it was they who fashioned the first goalscoring opportunity of note in the 10th minute when the ball was swept out wide to Dapo Afolayan and he showed great vision to pick out Connor Metcalfe, but his angled drive was turned round the post by Marius Müller in the Schalke goal. Seconds later there was a shock for the Hürzeler XI when Eric Smith was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by Adam Dźwigała, who slotted into the Smith position in the centre of the back three. Our very best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to our No8 here.

It remained to be seen what effect the enforced substitution would have on the proceedings. The home side won two quick corners with 20 minutes on the clock, but Paul Seguin's long-range effort posed no problem for Nikola Vasilj. Otherwise, the Boys in Brown continued to try to impose their game on the home side, but the vociferous Veltins Arena crowd rose to acclaim every tackle won and turned the stadium into a cauldron of noise whenever the Royal Blues pushed forward, as in the 26th minute when a blocked effort fell at the feet of Thomas Ouwejan, whose first-time volley was deflected wide of the goal by Manolis Saliakas.

From the half-hour mark the Boys in Brown found themselves increasingly on the back foot, but thanks to some resolute defending Schalke were unable to create any chances worthy of the name. But just when it looked as if the two sides would go in goalless at the break, Ouwejan whipped in a low cross from the left for Terodde to dummy and Kabadayi to net from close range to send the Royal Blues in a goal up at half-time.

Dapo Afolayan repeatedly took on Schalke's Brandon Soppy in the opening quarter of an hour.

Dapo Afolayan repeatedly took on Schalke's Brandon Soppy in the opening quarter of an hour.

Fabian Hürzeler opted to make a substitution at half-time, introducing  Johannes Eggestein for Aljoscha Kemlein, with Hartel dropping back into central midfield and Eggestein operating as the centre-forward. The Boys in Brown looked to play their way into the danger area by knocking intelligent balls out wide to either Manolis Saliakas or Dapo Afolayan or pinging the ball forward to target man Eggestein. Yet the home side continued to press, repeatedly probing in the opening ten minutes under the influence of the raucous home fans.

Nevertheless, as in the first half it was the Hürzeler XI who threatened first through Connor Metcalfe, who tested Müller with a first-time effort from a narrow angle on 58. A tenacious home side stepped up their efforts from the hour mark, however, stifling the St. Pauli build-up and frequently winning possession, without ever creating anything up front. That changed in the 73rd minute when Schalke capitalised on a long ball forward to great effect, Terodde racing clear and going for goal, only to be denied by an excellent reflex save from Vasilj, but there was nothing the keeper could do to prevent Kabadayi from converting the rebound - a bitter setback for the Boys in Brown, who had only around 15 minutes left to make good a two-goal deficit.

The Hürzeler XI threw everyone forward in the closing stages and got their reward two minutes from the end of regulation time when substitute Elias Saad pulled one back with a shot that took a deflection off a Schalke defender. Seven minutes of time added on made for an exciting finale at the Veltins Arena, but the home side maintained their composure and put the game to bed with a third goal from Kenan Karaman. 

FC Schalke 04

Müller - Soppy (Brunner 69'), Kalas, Murkin, Ouwejan - Schallenberg, Seguin - Lasme (Topp 62'), Karaman, Kabadayi (Churlinov 77') - Terodde (C)

Head coach: Karel Geraerts

 

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl (Albers 85'), Smith (Dźwigała 12'), Mets - Saliakas, Irvine (C), Kemlein (Eggestein 46'), Treu - Metcalfe (Saad 62'), Hartel, Afolayan

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler

 

Goals: 1-0 Kabadayi (44'), 2-0 Kabadayi (73'), 2-1 Saad (89'), 3-1 Karaman (90'+2)

Yellow card: Soppy, Kabadayi, Churlinov

Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)

Attendance: 61,497

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli

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