Freiburg heading for Europe

BY foxsports • April 13, 2013

Birmingham manager Lee Clark feels his side fed off the tension around Leicester's King Power Stadium to snatch a 2-2 draw on Friday night.

A win would have seen the Foxes edge into the Championship play-off places ahead of the weekend's fixtures, and it looked like Nigel Pearson's side were going to end their eight-game winless run after Jeff Schlupp had headed them back in front.

But substitute Chris Burke, back after a three-game absence with an ankle injury, kept his cool to net a last-minute penalty to snatch a point for the visitors.

Curtis Davies' own goal saw Leicester take an early lead but Nikola Zigic equalised just after the hour mark.

"We knew there would be a bit of tension around the place because Leicester and Nigel will be thinking they have to win because it (the race for the play-offs) is so tight," said Clark.

"This is a big club and there is a certain expectation level here and we knew we had to use that in our favour as part of our armoury.

"We spoke about it pre-match - making sure we use that bit of tension around the place to our benefit.

"But that aside, I felt we deserved the late goal. It would have been a travesty really if we had come away from here with nothing."

Leam Richardson's men moved five points clear of the drop zone ahead of Saturday's games as they continued their strong form against the Shrimps, who are now without a win over Stanley in 12 league attempts.

Murphy, who scored a last-gasp equaliser at York on Saturday, opened the scoring after 28 minutes against the run of play.

Lee Molyneux's low 30-yard free kick was deflected into the net by the defender to wrong-foot goalkeeper Barry Roche.

Morecambe looked dangerous at times with Robbie Threlfall's in-swinging corner tipped over by home keeper Paul Rachubka.

But Stanley's defence held firm and the home side scored their second from a counter attack as the hour approached.

Rommy Boco ran from midfield and rounded Roche but his shot was blocked. The ball fell to Amond, who blasted home from 12 yards through Chris Doyle's legs to seal a crucial win.

The visitors did not have things their own way as Daniel Sanchez's side made them work for the point they picked up from the goalless draw at the Stade du Hainaut.

St Etienne had the game's first chance in the 20th minute. Renaud Cohade freed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his powerful 30-yard shot was deflected away by defender Benjamin Angoua.

Valenciennes responded seven minutes later when Gael Danic received the ball from Maor Melikson and tried to lob Stephane Ruffier - but the St Etienne goalkeeper made a fingertip save.

Just before the interval Aubameyang saw his powerful right-foot shot go narrowly wide with goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau beaten.

Two minutes into the second half Danic and Opa Nguette combined to set up Remi Gomis for a header which went just over the bar.

Just past the hour mark Danic saw a 20-yard effort deflected for a corner as the home side sought the breakthrough.

However, they were reminded of the visitors' quality in the 73rd minute when Fabien Lemoine tried his luck with a powerful shot which Penneteau did well to block.

The hosts came close to winning the contest in the final minute - but Vincent Aboubakar's volley, following a neat header from Bayal Sall, could only find the side-netting.

The result means St Etienne remain in third place, 10 points behind pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain having played a game more.

Valenciennes are 13th - seven points above the relegation zone but now without a win in eight matches.

Goals from Max Kruse and Jonathan Schmid followed an own goal from Christian Schulz as Christian Streich's side moved level on points with fourth-placed Schalke, behind the Royal Blues only on goals scored in the Bundesliga.

Konstantin Rausch's goal was not enough for Hannover, whose four-point deficit on the top six could increase this weekend, leaving them with a mountain to climb over the last five games of the season if they are to make it into Europe next season.

Freiburg had some good early chances to take the lead with Kruse volleying off target and then just failing to make contact with a dangerous ball at the far post.

Kruse then struck the outside of the post before a bizarre goal gave the hosts a 25th-minute lead.

Schmid's cross did not appear to be too dangerous, but Ron Robert Zieler failed to clear it and Schulz, in trying to cover his own goalkeeper's failings, contrived to turn the ball into his own goal.

The lead lasted just 10 minutes before Hannover struck back with their first real attack on goal.

Mame Diouf pounced on a weak backwards header from Pavel Krmas and got to the ball before Freiburg goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.

He squared for Rausch, who drilled the ball in past Krmas.

Freiburg regaining the lead before the interval with Kruse finally hitting the target and seeing the net ripple in the 44th minute as the Hannover defence backed off.

Schmid was denied a third Freiburg goal by an excellent save by Zieler early in the second half as Freiburg pushed forwards in search of a two-goal cushion.

Zieler made excellent saves from Schmid again and then from Daniel Caligiuri, who turned the rebound onto the post, before Schmid finally got his reward.

Zieler nearly kept his powerful shot out, but the ball still managed to trickle over the line.

Freiburg did not stop attacking, sensing that one more goal would take them above Schalke into fourth place, but they had to settle for a 3-1 win which nevertheless gives them a four-point advantage over Borussia Monchengladbach in seventh.

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