Fürth - Ten-men VfB Stuttgart rode their luck in the closing stages to secure a narrow 1-0 win on the road against SpVgg Greuther Fürth, who drop to bottom of the Bundesliga standings as a result.
Hard work unrewarded
The opening exchanges left a lot to be desired, as errant passes littered the play, but the hosts were fortunate not to go behind when Vedad Ibisevic lost his marker only to head straight at Wolfgang Hesl from Gotoku Sakai's cross. Greuther were at times finding space on the break, but failed to make best use of a clear sight of goal just past the half hour mark when Edgar Prib fired wide under pressure from five yards out.
Then just when it looked like the sides were due to go in level at half-time, an unceremonious challenge on Ibisevic produced a penalty and, though the Bosnian's spot kick was saved, Shinji Okazaki was on hand to head home the rebound with virtually the last touch of the half. Only last-ditch defending prevented the hosts equalising straight from the restart as Sakai cleared off the line before Christopher Nöthe hit the post with Stuttgart's backline at sixes and sevens.
The match certainly swung in Fürth's favour when Serdar Tasci picked up a straight red for a reckless challenge on Milorad Pekovic, yet the hosts continued to struggle in carving out their chances. Being reduced to ten-men didn't stop Stuttgart from seeking out a second as Hesl once again came to the hosts' rescue, this time denying Martin Harnik in a one-on-one situation. Greuther didn't give up hope, but despite Prib hitting the crossbar with a curling free-kick and Thanos Petsos going close, the Franconian outfit were forced to settle for their ninth defeat of the season.
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