1860 Munich 1 Bochum 3
Allianz Arena, January 15 - On Friday 1860 Munich gained their league licence for the rest of the campaign. Any 'feel-good factor' lasted less than a day, evaporating into a bleak start to the second half of the season after a frustrating home defeat to improving Bochum.
1860 rightly found a scapegoat in whistle-happy referee Tobias Welz who awarded the visitors a very soft penalty just before the break. There was a slight coming together of 1860 defender Kai Bülow and Bochum's Matthias Ostrzolek but nothing to suggest a penalty award.
Slovenian striker Zlatko Dedic converted the spot-kick with aplomb and, to rub salt into the Lions' wounds, Bülow was shown the red card for a professional foul. At the half-time whistle, the referee and his assistants disappeared quickly down the tunnel to a chorus of boos from the 1860 followers amongst the sparse crowd of 16,150. Let's just say the home crowd did not agree with the decision. And quite rightly so.
1860 battled bravely to stay in the game at the start of the second half with the visitors looking to press home their advantage. The Lions were indebted to their Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly for keeping them in the game with a string of fine reflex saves.
Slowly but surely 1860 gained more of a foothold in the game despite their man disadvantage. Serbian substitute Djordje Rakic fired wastefully over the bar when clean through on goal after 69 minutes. Just two minutes later, former German international striker Benny Lauth slotted home the equaliser. Lauth, 29, controlled a lovely weighted through-ball from Stefan Bell and found the corner of the net with great composure. This was a deserved equaliser for the Lions who showed great fighting spirit in trying circumstances.
Given his brilliant goalkeeping thus far, it was highly ironic that a Kiraly clanger gifted the visitors a second goal on 77 minutes. Kiraly got a hand to Bochum sub Aydin's cross-shot but could only palm it into the net.
1860 hearts visibly sank after this fatal goalkeeping error. A third goal from Christoph Dabrowski sealed the deal on 83 minutes. The visitors' skipper tapped in from close range after 1860 were left exposed at the back.
The visitors were ultimately good value for their fifth successive victory with 1860 rueing another contentious refereeing decision which arguably changed the course of the game.