Hanover - 1899 Hoffenheim recovered from Matchday 9’s defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen with a deserved 4-1 victory over nine-man Hannover 96 in a thrilling game at the HDI-Arena.
Hoffenheim make numerical advantage count
In a frantic opening spell, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Christian Schulz brought down Anthony Modeste in the area. Sejad Salihovic stepped up and powered his spot-kick down the middle to put Hoffenheim ahead inside the first ten minutes. It was hardly the start Hannover had in mind and things turned from bad to worse when Mame Diouf, who was booked for arguing with the referee after the penalty was awarded, received a second yellow card for simulation at the other end.
Markus Gisdol’s side then doubled their lead after 18 minutes when Kai Herdling’s header looped over Ron-Robert Zieler and into the back of the Hannover net. Their two-goal advantage was no less than Hoffenheim deserved and they could have gone into half-time further ahead had Salihovic’s free-kick not flown just over the crossbar. Modeste also had an opportunity to increase his personal tally of the season, but the Frenchman failed to hit the target with an effort from just outside the area.
Despite the visitors’ one-man advantage, Hannover started the second half in spirited fashion and got themselves back into the game soon after the break. Leonardo Bittencourt whipped in a free-kick from the right and Salif Sane rose highest to nod the ball into the back of Koen Casteel’s net via the post. Incredibly, Bittencourt almost found an equaliser moments later, only for Casteels to get a firm hand to the 19-year-old’s effort to turn it away from danger.
It was always going to be difficult for Hannover to restore parity with ten men, however, and Hoffenheim soon restored their two-goal advantage. Leon Andreasen lost the ball to Eugen Polanski in midfield, who released Roberto Firmino. The 22-year-old Brazilian kept his composure, firing low past Zieler for his sixth goal of the season. The hosts’ miserable afternoon was sealed moments later when Firmino grabbed his second of the game, before Marcelo was shown a straight red card moments later for remonstrating with the referee, as Hannover suffered their first loss on home soil this season.
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