Audi Sport Park, Ingolstadt - TSV1860 survived a nervous final 5 minutes in their game with FC Ingolstadt on Friday evening to sneak away 1-0 in their Bavarian derby match.
Serbian forward Djorde Rakic repaid the faith shown in him by Coach Reiner Maurer with the only goal in a very physical encounter.
For most of the match the Lions were untroubled by the 2nd Bundesliga strugglers but once the 3 minutes of the injury time had been announced, Ingolstadt stepped up a gear and piled on the pressure, coming close on 3 or 4 occasions before the final whistle was blown and the travelling fans could breathe easy again.
The match started slowly, both sides cautiously testing each other out. The referee was kept on his toes too, first Stefan Leitl and then Andreas Buchner both receiving a booking inside the first quarter of an hour. Buchner unquestionably saw yellow for a sliding lunge on Kevin Volland that could easily have seen the youngster in hospital had he not been alert enough to jump over it.
The defining moment came in the 20th minute when Antonio Rukavina found Rakic on the edge of the penalty area. The Serbian coolly turned his marker and shot low into the bottom right corner. That goal may mark the return of Rakic who will be hoping to keep his place in the squad for the remainder of the season. He certainly deserves it on the back of this performance. After receiving back injections recently his injury plagued time in Munich could, with luck now be behind him.
When the second half got underway, the Lions continued to exert their authority on the game. The defense looked typically frail at times during the game but nevertheless kept Ingolstadt front men Caiuby and Akaichi relatively quiet.
Ingolstadt did all they could to grab an equalizer by throwing American international striker Edson Buddle (65th min) and 24-year-old forward Karl-Heinz Lappe (80th min) into the game in the second half to add some presence up front. Buddle hadn't been on long when he audaciously attempted an overhead kick on the edge of the penalty area that thankfully for the visitors, sailed over the bar.
1860 utilized their three substitutions in the second half. Collin Benjamin and Dominik Stahl came on to bolster the midfield and Manual Schäffler added fresh legs up front for the last 5 minutes replacing Rakic who had run his socks off. Maurer wisely chose to defend the narrow lead rather than go for a second goal.
That decision could have backfired though as "Die Schanzers" turned up the heat. In fact both teams had some great chances in front of goal at the end of the game but neither could apply the finishing touch. It was a nervous final few minutes as Tomas Oral's team made Gabor Kiraly work double-time between the sticks but the Lions held on and left with all 3 points.
After the game Maurer was clearly delighted and even managed a smile during his post-match TV interview. Referring to his goal scorer he said "Djorde has fought back (from injury) with great moral. His goal tonight has given him wings. He needed this and I hope it continues for him."