Shinji Okazaki struck the crossbar for Mainz late on at the RheinEnergieStadion
Shinji Okazaki struck the crossbar for Mainz late on at the RheinEnergieStadion

Mainz hold Köln to goalless draw

Cologne - 1. FSV Mainz 05 held 1. FC Köln to a 0-0 draw at the RheinEnergieStadion in Tuesday evening’s Matchday 16 encounter.

Tentative opening

Anthony Ujah and Shinji Okazaki both had chances to win the match in the second half after Dominic Maroh’s early strike had been disallowed, but neither side could force a winner, leaving them both in mid-table after a goalless draw.

The Billy Goats had ended their run of three straight league defeats with a surprise victory at FC Schalke 04 at the weekend, and Peter Stöger’s side thought they had made the perfect start against die Nullfünfer when Maroh sidefooted Matthias Lehmann’s cross into the corner, but the goal was belatedly ruled out for offside.

Mainz recovered quickly after that early shock and started to exert some pressure on their hosts. Johannes Geis’s long-range effort midway through the first-half flew high, wide and handsome, before Okazaki almost capitalised on a defensive misunderstanding to give the visitors the lead, but Timo Horn smothered the ball at the feet of the Japan striker.

Chances few and far between

Köln were almost masters of their own downfall seven minutes before half-time when Lehmann presented the ball straight to Sami Allagui inside the hosts’ half. The former Hertha Berlin midfielder made a beeline for the penalty area, but the Tunisian’s effort, which flew high over the crossbar, pretty much summed up a largely uneventful first half at the RheinEnergieStadion.

Clear-cut chances remained at a premium after the restart, with Dusan Svento’s shot from distance just before the hour-mark the only effort of note in the first fifteen minutes of the second period. Stöger introduced midfielder Daniel Halfar in place of Marcel Risse in an attempt to give the hosts fresh impetus, but the switch failed to have the desired effect as Köln continued to struggle to break down the Mainz defence.

Okazaki unlucky

Out of nothing, the hosts almost broke the deadlock with their best move of the game. A flowing attack down the right-hand side resulted in Anthony Ujah latching onto Halfar’s cross, but the Nigerian striker’s sidefooted effort was blocked and eventually cleared by the Mainz defence.

Five minutes after Ujah’s chance, Yunus Malli played through Okazaki who cut inside before crashing the ball against the crossbar from deep inside the penalty area. It proved to be the final chance of the game as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in their penultimate league fixture of 2014.

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