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ZIEREIS RESCUES INJURY-TIME POINT IN 2-2 DRAW WITH VIBORG FF

FC St. Pauli drew 2-2 in a friendly against Danish top-division club Viborg FF in front of almost 200 fans at the Edmund Plambeck Stadium in Norderstedt on Thursday. In a lively encounter with plenty of chances at both ends, Guido Burgstaller gave his side an early lead, only for Jakob Bonde to equalise midway through the first half. Alassane Jatta put Viborg in front just after the restart, but Philipp Ziereis restored parity in time added on.

Timo Schultz fielded a number of players who have had little or no playing time at all recently, including long-term casualties Sebastian Ohlsson and Eric Smith, who both celebrated their return to action. And Smith it was who ushered in the opening goal with a long diagonal ball to Lars Ritzka on four minutes. Ritzka burst into the penalty area from the left and struck a low ball across the face of the goal, where Guido Burgstaller needed no second invitation at the far post.

With ten minutes gone and after two half-chances for Viborg, Ohlsson carved out another decent opportunity with a pass to Luca Zander. Burgstaller failed to make a proper connection with his low cross from the right, but when the ball came to Igor Matanović, he was taken by surprise and put his shot wide of the target. At the other end, Dennis Smarsch kept out a Justin Lonwijk effort from 25 metres and soon after that the Dutch midfielder fired over from the edge of the penalty area. Lonwijk's third attempt in five minutes was blocked by Jakov Medić.

It was a high-intensity affair from the off despite the cold, wet weather, with the action ebbing back and forth at pace. After Viborg keeper Lucas Lund Pedersen had headed away a long ball aimed at Luca Zander, Smarsch had to deal with a Sofus Berger Brix shot from just outside the box. Christian Sørensen tested Smarsch again from an acute angle, but the keeper was equal to the task. There was nothing Smarsch could do moments later, however, when Jakob Bonde headed a Sørensen free kick into the top-right corner from ten metres to level the scores on 25.

There was no respite for either side in the ensuing period and the next chance again fell to the Danish outfit, who were in the ascendency by now, and with 31 minutes gone Berger Brix curled another effort just over the top from the edge of the area. The Boys in Brown mustered their next attempt four minutes later when Ritzka was allowed to cross from the left and found Burgstaller in the middle. His header went a good metre over the crossbar, however. Berger Brix went a little closer with another effort at the other end before Marcel Hartel was presented with a great opportunity to restore his side's advantage, but his header from a Zander cross flew wide left of the goal. Next up was Matanović, whose close-range header from Smith' free-kick proved a touch too high. Then, Sebastian Grønning cleared a Matanović shot off the line following a corner, ensuring the two sides went in at the break with the scores level at 1-1.

Both coaches made changes at the interval, with Schultz opting for seven. The pattern remained much the same, though, as both teams continued to push forward with the floodlights now on. As in the first half, the ball found the back of the net early on, only this time it was Viborg who scored, combining beautifully for Ibrahim Said to cross to Alassane Jatta, who registered from close range.

Rico Benatelli narrowly missed the target with a shot that took a slight deflection on 51 and shortly afterwards substitute keeper Sören Ahlers saved a shot from Clint Leemans before his Viborg counterpart defused a shot from Dittgen. Hartel fired over with a free-kick on 58 and then went close from the inside-left channel six minutes later.

After Marvin Knoll had beaten the wall with a curling free-kick that forced Lund into the save, Schultz made four more changes. The equaliser almost arrived ten minutes when Knoll crossed from the left for Etienne Amenyido to shoot, only for Frederik Christensen to clear off the line. Viborg went straight back up the other end and Tobias Bech rifled a shot just wide from 22 metres. Ahlers then gathered a shot from Leemans at the second attempt three minutes before time before claiming Jatta's header with aplomb. Finally, the Boys in Brown restored parity with the last kick of the game, Philipp Ziereis scoring from close range to make it 2-2 from a corner.

Timo Schultz: "We always want to be brave and get forward, but we were a bit too careless at the back today. We gave too many chances away against a team who to be fair made good use of them. We have to defend better there. We shouldn't underestimate the fact that a lot of players hadn't played for a while, however. Maybe we lacked a bit of grip. On the other hand, we created lots of chances ourselves. It could have ended 6-6. No tackles were shirked and it went from end to end. The lads performed the way we'd hoped they would, but I would have liked to see more structure and edge at the back."

FC St. Pauli

Smarsch (Ahlers 46') - Ohlsson (Knoll 46'), Dźwigała (Schütt 68'), Medić (Ziereis 46'), Ritzka (Loubongo 68') - Zander (Benatelli 46') Smith (Amenyido 46'), Hartel (Brandt 68'), Buchtmann (Kukanda 68') - Burgstaller (Makienok 46'), Matanović (Dittgen 46')

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

Viborg FF

Lund - Gordinho (Aaquist 46'), Sørensen (Lauritsen 46'), Londwijk (Gaael 61'), S. Grønning (Christensen 46'), Berger Brix (J. Grønning 46'), Mensah (Jatta 46'), Bonde, Van der Kaap (Leemans 46'), Said (Berger Brix 78'), Bech (Mensah 78')

Head coach: Lars Friis

 

Goals: 1-0 Burgstaller (4'), 1-1 Bonde (25'), 1-2 Jatta (50'), 2-2 Ziereis (90'+1)

Yellow cards: Smith –  Berger Brix, Mensah, Leemans, Aaquist

Referee: Adrian Höhns

 

Photos: Witters

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