Ryo Miyaichi scored for FC St. Pauli on his return from a long injury lay-off to give his side a narrow 1-0 win over out-of-form FC Ingolstadt 04 in the 2. Bundesliga.
Jeremey Dudziak and Thomas Pledl came closest to breaking the deadlock before Konstantin Kerschbaumer saw red for a second bookable offence.
Substitute Miyaichi would then mark his return his style, heading in the winner with a little under ten minutes remaining, piling on the pressure on his side’s hosts as a result.
Dudziak has best chance of quiet first half
Ingolstadt’s humbling 6-0 defeat to VfL Bochum last weekend left them with just five points from as many games. Under-pressure Stefan Leitl made three changes, giving starts to Paulo Otávio, Tobias Schröck and Dario Lezcano. St. Pauli also made three changes from their 3-1 defeat at Erzgebirge Aue, with former Ingolstadt coach Markus Kauczinski adding Christopher Avevor, Daniel Buballa and Cenk Sahin to his line-up.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for two teams that were soundly beaten a week ago, both were rather withdrawn in the early stages of the match. Perhaps there were also a little unsettled by the silence in the stadium for the first four minutes and 20 seconds, respected by fans of both sides in memory of an Ingolstadt supporter that passed away recently.
The only scoring opportunities seemed to come from set pieces that were not dealt with properly by the respective defences. Marvin Matip cleared one such shot from Henk Veerman, whilst Pledl hit the side netting when Veerman was guilty himself of a poor headed clearance.
The football rarely got out of first or second gear, with the best chance of the opening half coming five minutes before the break. Mats Møller Dæhli set up Dudziak on the right, he ran into the box and shot past the out-stretched out of Marco Knaller and the post. Matip would head over from a corner for the hosts, although both sides would have been happy not to concede in the first 45 minutes.
Miyaichi returns in style
The shackles appeared to come off in the second half. Marvin Knoll struck over the bar for St. Pauli, but Ingolstadt had more sights at goal, none better than one for Pledl. Otávio did excellently to run past his man on the left, before crossing in. Pledl put his header over the bar though.
Ingolstadt couldn’t build on the momentum they had, however, and in an attacking sense the game returned to a stalemate, with both managers shuffling their packs in an attempt to turn things around.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, the equation was changed as Kerschbaumer saw red. He earned his second yellow card of the evening after losing the ball and treading on Philipp Ziereis in his attempt to win it back, leaving die Schanzer once more with ten men to see the game out with.
They couldn’t manage it. Kauczinski had brought on former Arsenal winger Miyaichi on in place of Sahin, his first appearance for the first team since playing Bochum at the end of the 2016-17 season. 12 minutes in, and he marked his comeback with a goal, latching on to long ball from another substitute, Ersin Zehir, heading it over Knaller, for just his third goal in an injury-hit three years with the club. It was enough to secure all three points to return to Hamburg with.