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FCA cup adventure comes to a heart-breaking end
FC Augsburg’s DFB-Pokal run has come to end after a heart-breaking last-minute penalty in extra time against RB Leipzig (1-2). After Alfred Finnbogason had forced an extra 30 minutes with the last kick of regulation time, the visitors were awarded a 120th minute penalty in extra time. Marcel Halstenberg converted to eliminate FCA from the competition.
FC Augsburg head coach Manuel Baum made two changes to the side that fell to a 3-0 Bundesliga defeat to 1. FC Nürnberg on Saturday. Georg Teigl started against his former club while Marco Richter also came into the side to replace the injured Dong-Won Ji. Alfred Finnbogason started on the bench as Michael Gregoritsch started as a lone striker. The Austrian scored the winning goal as a lone striker in the previous round away against Holstein Kiel. Augsburg started the match defensively, allowing Leipzig to enjoy large spells of possession. However, it was the hosts who created the first chance of the match as Philipp Max fired a shot narrowly wide of the near post (6’). Leipzig continued to press towards the Augsburg goal but were unable to pose too many problems for Gregor Kobel in the FCA goal. The visitors did go close in the 14th minute as Rani Khedira was forced into a last-gasp clearance to deny Bruma. Much of the action in the opening twenty minutes took place in the middle third as Augsburg started to defend further up the pitch. The hosts started to attack with more confidence and created more chances to break the deadlock. Richter created FCA’s best chance, forcing Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi into a smart save (24’). However, FCA were fortunate not to fall behind just a few minutes later as Timo Werner was unable to make the most of a defensive mistake (30’). After a tight, competitive first half, the two sides were level at the break.
Werner breaks the deadlock against the run of play – Finnbogason forces extra time with last kick
The second half started in the same way as the first with Leipzig enjoying more possession as they looked to break down the Augsburg defence. However, FCA continued to cause problems of their own and were unfortunate not to take the lead in the 57th minute. Richter was played in but was in an offside position. Just a minute later, André Hahn made space for a cross but couldn’t find anyone in the box as another chance went begging. On the hour mark, the match turned into an open affair with much of the play in the central third of the pitch. Just as FCA were pushing to take the lead, Leipzig scored against the run of play. After FCA lost the ball in opposition territory, Amadou Haidara played in Timo Werner who managed to keep his cool and play the ball beyond the onrushing Kobel and recovering Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (74’). Augsburg almost responded immediately as Khedira was denied by another fine Gulacsi save (76’). In the closing stages of regulation, FCA pressed to keep their cup dreams alive. The hosts were rewarded for their pressure with virtually the last kick of normal as substitute Finnbogason flicked home a Richter cross. This send the home crowd wild and forced an additional 30 minutes (90+4’).
Halstenburg breaks FCA hearts with late penalty
Extra time proved to be completely different to preceding 90 minutes as both sides threw caution to the wind in search of a winning goal and a place in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals. Leipzig rarely threatened except for a Konrad Laimer shot from long-range (105’). After the change of ends, FCA went close to turning the match in their favour as a Finnbogason shot was parried by Gulacsi (109’) before Richter couldn’t convert an audatious overhead-kick (113’). Just when the match seemed destined for penalties, referee Tobias Stieler pointed to the spot after Gregoritsch handled the ball following a free-kick. Marcel Halstenberg stepped up to seal Leipzig’s place in the semi-finals (120+1’). FC Augsburg have unfortunately been eliminated from this season’s DFB-Pokal in heartbreaking fashion. The Fuggerstädter will return to Bundesliga action at home against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Sunday, 7th April (15:30 CEST).
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