Augsburg - FC Augsburg suffered a setback in their bid for survival as regional rivals 1. FC Nuremberg secured a 2-1 win at the SGL Arena to move ten points clear of their hosts in the Bundesliga standings.
'Kiyo' comes up trumps
Augsburg dictated the pace of the encounter throughout but fell behind to Hiroshi Kiyotake’s fourth goal of the season before an egregious error from Raphael Schäfer allowed Tobias Werner to level the scores. However, Alexander Esswein’s powerful free-kick in the second half won it for Nuremberg, who extended their unbeaten run to six matches.
The fans had barely settled into their seats when Nuremberg first came close to breaking the deadlock. Augsburg were caught unawares by a quickly taken free-kick, but having raced clean through, Markus Feulner couldn’t guide his first-time volley on target. Aside from that chance, however, there was a noticeably cagey feel to the opening exchanges with both sides adopting a risk-averse approach.
Augsburg established a greater control on proceedings after the early chance, yet soon found themselves behind just past the quarter-hour mark after an incisive Nuremberg breakaway. Esswein latched onto Tomas Pekhart’s flick on, bursting down the right before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Kiyotake, whose first time curler had Mohamed Amsif beaten all ends up.
To me, to you
Visibly shocked at falling behind, the hosts soon sparked into life as Ja-Cheol Koo’s free-kick had Schäfer at full stretch to tip it around the post. Despite dominating possession, Augsburg were making hard work of penetrating the visitors’ deep backline, but levelled the scores courtesy of a stroke of good fortune when Schäfer inexplicably managed to spill Werner’s tame header through his own legs.
The hosts refused to relax their grip on the game after the break, but after Dong-Won Ji ruffled the side netting with a stinging drive, Augsburg once again found themselves behind in the encounter. Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker brought Kiyotake down on the edge of the area and with everyone expecting an effort from the Japanese international, it was instead Esswein who stepped up to slam the dead ball through Augsburg’s wall and Amsif to put Nuremberg back in front.
Augsburg toil to no avail
A disciplined defensive performance from the visitors continued to thwart Augsburg, who couldn’t carve out the final pass. Werner fired wide before being replaced by Thorsten Oehrl, who came within inches of turning Andre Hahn’s drilled cross into the net soon after entering the fray.
Augsburg were piling forward in search of a second equaliser, yet it was the visitors who were still creating the more clear-cut chances as Esswein dragged an effort wide before second-half substitute Berkay Dabanli saw his headed effort come back off the post. With the visitors killing off the game Augsburg failed to conjure up a second goal and Nuremberg made the short trip home just nine points off the golden 40-point mark.
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