SCOTT PETERSON - Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Ricardo Clark got the start in central defense and went the distance as two relegated 1. Bundesliga Clubs in Frankfurt and St. Pauli squared off Monday night in the 2. Bundesliga in what turned out to be a tale of two halves.

Head coach Armin Veh brought on Clark for defensive lynchpin Marco Russ, who transferred to VFL Wolfsburg during the week, but made no other changes to the starting lineup used in the season's first game against Fürth. The Hessians' home opener was limited to just 19,000 fans as a result of rioting that happened in the club's final home game last season against FC Cologne, with five of those belonging to the guests.

The lack of support might help explain a first half of play which saw the guests dominate and generate class chances in spades. The best of the bunch came in the 20th minute after striker Mariurz Ebbers hustled after a ball and dropped it off for onrushing defender Sebastian Schachten, who crossed it one-time, picking out diminutive striker Fin Bartels, but he put his header just over the bar.

St. Pauli got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 38th minute, as Ebbers flicked on for captain Fabian Boll, who tapped the ball over Clark in defense to a wide open Bartels, who merely had to redirect into goal. The tally was also the last noteworthy piece of action in the first half and the guests fully deserved to be up by a goal.

At the break head coach Veh brought on Algerian midfielder Karim Matmour for the Brazilian Caio, and Frankfurt looked like a changed side. The looked to have scored early as well, as Erwin Hoffer chested home in the 49th minute, but referee Kinhöfer waved it off for offsides.

Frankfurt could not believe it and video replays were inconclusive at best. Frankfurt, however, continued to dominate second half proceedings undeterred. St. Pauli cast-off and current Frankfurt striker Alex Meier almost scored in the 56th, but his powerful header off of Djakpa's pinpoint cross was saved acrobatically by Pauli keeper Tschauner.

In the 58th minute Clark was cautioned after giving the ball away to Kruse in midfield and pulling him down before anything could develop; it was his first on the year. The hosts kept applying pressure and finally equalized in the 78th minute. St. Pauli's Boll headed his clearance right to striker Meier. Meier ripped in a volley from 18 yards out with his right foot leaving keeper Tschauner with no chance. Neither managed to grab a late winner and an entertaining match ended 1-1.

Up next for Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt is a German Cup tie against Hallescher FC on Saturday.

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