Sasa Kalajdzic's last-minute leveller salvages VfB Stuttgart a point at Union Berlin
Sasa Kalajdzic's last-minute leveller cancelled out Taiwo Awoniyi's penalty and earned VfB Stuttgart a crucial point against Union Berlin in the capital.
Union 1-1 Stuttgart
Goals: 1-0 Awoniyi (pen. 41'), 1-1 Kalajdzic 90' (assist: Sosa)
Stuttgart-born Rani Khedira, who grew up in the Swabian club's youth academy, flashed the first shot of the game just inches wide of the left-hand post. Niko Gießelmann later saw a volley tipped over by Florian Müller as Union inched closer to an opening goal, with Grischa Prömel finding the side-netting moments after. Stuttgart's first sniff of goal came from a Wataru Endo header which Frederik Ronnow collected easily, but the ball continued to be drawn magnetically towards the Stuttgart goal, even if when it did find a way into the net, Awoniyi was in an offside position. A Konstantinos Mavropanos handball then gave Awoniyi the chance to score from the penalty spot, and he took it by sending Müller the wrong way to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Pascal Stenzel did well to disturb Gießelmann and do enough to put him off as Union created their first opening of the second half midway in. Up to then, Union had continued to enjoy more of the ball, albeit without creating any openings, while Stuttgart's struggles to get into the final third of the field persisted. It was therefore unsurprising to see Omar Marmoush taking aim from 25 yards out and sending the guests' first shot of the second half over the crossbar. They finally broke through Union's hitherto lock-tight defence with only minutes of the game remaining, and Kalajdzic very nearly brought them level with his shot at full stretch clipping the outside of the left-hand post. It was a prelude to what would be an equaliser for Stuttgart and Kalajdzic, who once again stretched to meet Borna Sosa's cross and turn the ball in at the death to salvage a precious point for Pellegrino Matarazzo's men.
- Union have scored the first goal in all four Bundesliga meetings with Stuttgart, and it always fell before half-time.
- Awoniyi took and scored his first ever Bundesliga penalty.
- The last time Union lost after leading 1-0 was in the Stadtderby against Hertha on 4 December 2020, a game they lost 3-1.
- Sosa has 17 Bundesliga assists. He’s furnished Kalajdzic eight times.
- Stuttgart are unbeaten in back-to-back Bundesliga games for the first time since December.
Watch: Sosa: "I have a really good connection with Kalajdzic"
Union: Ronnow - Jaeckel, Knoche, Baumgartl – Khedira – Trimmel (c), Prömel, Möhwald (Schäfer 66'), Gießelmann (Oczipka 89') – Becker (Voglsammer 74'), Awoniyi (Michel 73')
Unused subs: Busk, Ujah, Heintz, Abdullahi
Out: Behrens (not included), Endo (leg), Haraguchi (not included) Luthe (not included), Öztunali (not included)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos (Stenzel 59'), Anton, Ito - Führich, Karazor, Endo (c) (Coulibaly 85'), Sosa - Tomas (Mangala 59'), Kalajdzic, Marmoush
Unused subs: Bredlow, Mola, Thommy, Förster, Ahamada, Beyaz
Out: Egloff (back), Nartey (knee), Sankoh (knee), Silas (shoulder)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
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