DAVID SMITH - Monday, March 29, 2010
Steve Cherundolo netted his first league goal in nearly three years to lessen the sting of Hannover's huge loss at home to Cologne while David Yelldell and Koblenz had a rough day in Duisburg.
Hannover 96 1 - 4 FC Cologne
Steve Cherundolo put away a free kick late in the game for his first Hannover goal since April 2007, but it was only a consolation prize as a lopsided loss to Cologne saw them dip further into the relegation zone.
Cologne piled the pressure on their hosts in the first half, and needed less than 30 minutes to build a three-goal lead.
Zoran received a cross-field pass on the right side of the field and beat several defenders on his way to the top of the area, leaving just enough space to nail his shot inside the left post in the 12th minute.
Maniche set up Portuguese veteran Petit with a long cross to the left of goal which he booted in past the helpless Florian Fromlowitz in the 20th minute, before a leaping handball in the area by Hanno Balitsch eight minutes later allowed the visitors to increase their lead to three after Milivoje Novakovic converted the spot kick.
Balitsch's day got worse after he was sent off on the stroke of halftime for a heavy tackle on Maniche, leaving Hannover undermanned for the entire second half.
Their weariness showed as the half wore on as they were unable to effectively defend a quick give and go into the box between Tosic and Sebastian Freis in the 71st minute, with Tosic easily netting his second goal of the afternoon.
Hannover avoided the shut-out with nine minutes left after substitute Manuel Schmiedebach was fouled in a dangerous position. Cherundolo took the resulting free kick, firing his shot just over the Cologne wall and inside the right post, leaving Cologne's Faryd Mondragon no chance for a save.
Sal Zizzo is still undergoing rehabilitation for his injured knee and did not take part in the game.
The loss drops Hannover down into one of the two automatic relegation spots now one point behind Freiburg for the playoff and two from safety.
They still have a thin hope of avoiding relegation with six games remaining, but will need to start picking up points, beginning with their tough trip to Hamburg on Sunday.
MSV Duisburg 4 - 1 TuS Koblenz
David Yelldell wore the captain's armband for Koblenz on their visit to Duisburg, but a poor second-half showing doomed them to a big loss, with relegation now looking to be in their near future.
Koblenz's fortunes had taken a major downturn in recent weeks, with the chance to even play in the two-legged relegation playoff looking now increasingly unlikely.
Diusburg struck first, with Olcay Sahan hitting a low cross into the six-yard box in the 26th minute which the outstretched Yelldell barely missed grabbing, leaving Srdjan Baljak free for the easy tap-in.
The Zebras doubled it three minutes into the second half when a long shot from Sahan bounced over the diving Yelldell's hands and into the bottom left corner, however Koblenz's Matej Mavric was able to get a foot onto a free kick from Daniel Gunkel and deflect it into Duisburg's goal three minutes later to bring them back to within one goal.
Any hopes of a comeback were squashed in the 64th minute when the Koblenz defense was unable to take care of Duisburg corner, allowing Frank Fahrenhorst to put away the team's third goal.
Caiuby then nailed the coffin shut with three minutes left in regulation, taking a pass from Baljak and working around a pair of defenders before putting away his 18-yard shot for the final 4-1 score.
Koblenz remains in 17th place with the loss, but the gap to the relegation spot has grown to five points with FSV Frankfurt's win. Their next chance to pick up points will be on Sunday when they visit Paderborn.
Ricardo Clark was an unused substitute for Frankfurt as they continued their hot streak with a 2-1 win on the road against floundering Bochum on Friday.
Jared Jeffrey did not suit up for Frankfurt's first team for their 2-0 loss to visiting Wolfsburg on Saturday, instead playing the full game for their second team in the Regionalliga earlier that afternoon.
Jermaine Jones is still on the mend for his broken leg and was not a participant as Schalke took over the league lead with a 2-0 road win over Leverkusen on Saturday evening.
Daniel Williams was not included on Freiburg's bench on Sunday for their 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim, however has resumed play with Freiburg's second team in the fourth-division Regionalliga Süd.
Michael Bradley was left off Borussia Mönchengladbach's roster for their 1-0 home win over Hamburger SV on Sunday as he was serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Matt Taylor was not included on FSV Frankfurt's bench on Friday for their 2-1 win over Union Berlin.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench as Tobias Sippel's backup as 2. Bundesliga leaders Kaiserslautern look to move one step closer to promotion on Monday night when they host 1860 Munich.