Hertha Berlin maintained their one-point cushion in fifth place on Cologne with a 2-0 win at relegated Darmstadt. Salomon Kalou and Jordan Torunarigha scored to separate the sides.
Darmstadt 0-2 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Kalou (14’), 0-2 Torunarigha (28’)
Hertha pulled into the lead inside the first 15 minutes when Kalou headed Peter Pekarik’s cross beyond Darmstadt ‘keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes. The already-relegated hosts threatened to draw level with Patrick Banggaard heading narrowly wide, but the capital club carried a two-goal lead into the interval when Torunarigha powered home from a Marvin Plattenhardt free-kick for his first senior professional goal.
Mitchell Weiser came on for Alexander Esswein just past the hour and nearly had an instant impact, but after waltzing his way through the Darmstadt defence he could only find the outside side-netting with his attempt.
Man of the Match
Torunarigha made just his fifth senior start here, but the 19-year-old played beyond his years, marshalling the visiting defence beside Niklas Stark to claim a richly deserved clean sheet and a first senior goal to boot.
Hertha’s form has been patchy recently, but this could prove a crucial three points in their quest for automatic UEFA Europa League qualification. Darmstadt may already be down but three wins before a narrow 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich illustrate the proposition they have been in recent weeks.
- Torunarigha’s goal was his first in the Bundesliga. Hertha have spent the entire season in the top six of the table.Darmstadt have been relegated from the Bundesliga for the third time (1979, 1982, and 2017).
Darmstadt: Heuer Fernandes - Sirigu, Banggaard, Sulu (c), Holland – Kamavuaka (Rosenthal 35’), Hamit Altintop – Heller (Gorka 84’), Gondorf, Vrancic (Stroh-Engel 64’) - Platte
Coach: Torsten Frings
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Stark (Baak 82’), Torunarigha, Plattenhardt - Darida, Allan - Kalou, Haraguchi, Esswein (Weiser 63’) - Ibisevic (c)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Watch: Salomon Kalou reflects on Hertha's win at Darmstadt
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