High table position positive sign for 2nd half
Allianz Arena, Munich, December 19 - Funny thing, sports. One minute, you are on top of the world, playing well, winning at home, nothing can go wrong. Then one play can lead to disaster and change everything.
Don't ask New York Giants of the NFL and their fans about how their game ended on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. And don't ask 1860's coach Reiner Maurer about his team's first loss at home this season earlier the same day.
Edmond Kapllani converted a penalty kick in the 22nd minute and that was enough for SC Paderborn to earn the victory, three points, and perhaps ruin any promotion chance for TSV 1860 München. The loss drops the Lions to 9th in the table and 8 points behind the pace. But more importantly, they are now behind six teams to qualify for a promotion playoff.
The penalty was awarded when SCP's Philipp Heithölter pass from the right flank was cut off by Kai Bülow near the touch line. At first it seemed only a corner would be given, but the referee's assistant called handball.
"There is no dispute. The ball hit Kai (Bülow) in the face," explained Maurer after the match. "The referees should focus on what they see and not what they presume. The referee's decision cost us at least a point, perhaps even a victory."
Despite the call going against them, the Lions tried to create to draw even but could not get close until Benjamin Lauth's header hit off the fingertips of the Paderborn goalkeeper and the post in the 76th minute.
The Lions can go into the break feeling somewhat positive about where they sit in the table. After getting docked two points by the league, the usual club leadership drama, and lost points on the pitch, the team are in position where a positive run can get the team back into the promotion race. They return to action on January 15th back here in the Arena against VfL Bochum.
"We could have more points in the 1st half of the season, but that didn't happen," said Lion's goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly. "We need to come out in the first 5-6 matches and start the second half of the season strong. We can't change what has happened, but we need to look forward and stay on our current path and try to get this done together."
However, Maurer was not going to let that affect his bad mood. "The team is not feeling good about leaving points out there on the pitch. They prepared well for this match, started off well, and then to have a bad call decide the game, it doesn't leave us in agood position in the table."
The Giants can blame the coach and the punter. 1860's coach and fans can blame the ref and the post. But in the end, one play can win a match, but it takes many plays, and missed chances, that add up to a loss.