Hannover - Didier Ya Konan’s late goal earned Hannover 96 a priceless 2-1 win over Hamburger SV on Mirko Slomka’s return to the HDI Arena.
Slomka had suffered 12 successive away league defeats prior to Saturday’s clash, and his team didn’t get off to the best of starts at his former stomping ground as Lars Stindl headed home Edgar Prib’s cross on ten minutes to give Hannover an early lead. Rafael van der Vaart prevented HSV from falling further behind when the Dutchman cleared Ya Konan’s goal-bound header off the line, before Leonardo Bittencourt struck the foot of the post with a fierce drive from 20 yards.
Despite being on the back foot for most of the opening 45 minutes in Lower Saxony, Hamburg were back on level terms three minutes into the second period when Hakan Calhanoglu curled a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area round the Hannover wall and past Ron-Robert Zieler. HSV appeared to draw huge confidence from the equaliser and Zieler had to be alert to punch another Calhanoglu set-piece out of harm’s way on the hour mark.
Unperturbed, Hannover pushed forward in an attempt to regain the initiative and after Prib and Bittencourt had both spurned promising opportunities, Tayfun Korkut’s side were rewarded for their efforts four minutes from time. Artjoms Rudnevs’ shot was cleared off the line by Rene Adler, but Ya Konan was on hand to fire home the rebound and lift Hannover five points clear of 16th-placed HSV.
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