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Knoche scores late from the spot: Eiserne spend the winter in the international arena

Union Berlin also wins the second leg against Malmö. In the 1:0 win, the Berliners benefited from a Lomotey miss, which Knoche used to his advantage shortly before the end of the match.

Union coach Urs Fischer had to make changes to his starting eleven compared to the 1-0 away win at VfB Stuttgart due to Schäfer’s red suspension. Haberer started in place of the Hungarian. Captain Trimmel and Diogo Leite replaced Doekhi and Gießelmann, who were both on the bench.

Malmö coach Age Hareide also made three changes compared to the 0-0 draw against IFK Värnamo. Lewicki, Berget and Kiese Thelin started for Sejdiu, Buya Turay and Toivonen (all bench).

Neither team exudes any scoring threat

The fact that the stakes were high was evident from the start: Union, who would win the European Championship, initially let the visitors take control of the game. But they knew little about what to do with the slightly higher share of possession, so that the game took place almost exclusively between the penalty areas.

For this reason, it was not surprising that the only dangerous goal of the first half came from a standard situation: Diawara’s shot from the left side following a corner kick was saved by Trimmel in the short corner (25th minute). As the home side lacked accuracy in the final third, for example when Becker miscued a cross (29th), it went into the dressing rooms goalless.

Khedira’s deflected shot flies against the post

After the restart, Union became more active. Nevertheless, Berlin continued to lack the necessary creativity in their attacking play in the early stages of the second period. Apart from an offside goal by Becker (58th), little happened until Khedira’s deflected shot from distance suddenly hit the left post (65th). The Eisernen stayed in it, but missed the 1:0 again after Jordan’s hack attempt one turn of the clock later. A short time later, things got curious when referee Stavrev suddenly decided on a penalty kick for Union after a foul by Thorsby on Martin Olsson in the opponent’s sixteen. The North Macedonian correctly took it back after watching the video footage (70.).

After that, the game flattened out again – also because Malmö repeatedly disturbed the flow of the game with treatment breaks and time play. But when the score already seemed to be 0:0, the home side struck again. After Lomotey’s lapse, who pulled Behrens down in his own sixteen, Knoche used the penalty kick to take the lead (89th minute).

Lomotey sees red eleven minutes after his substitution

The working day of Lomotey, who had only been substituted in the 81st minute, was to get even worse. He was initially shown a yellow card for a foul on Becker, before referee Stavrev revised his decision after viewing the video footage and only showed the defender the red card (90.+2). The home side managed to hold on to the 1-0 lead in the nine minutes of injury time and celebrated their first European success at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and, at the same time, their place in Europe for the winter: at least the “relegation” to the Conference League is secured by third place.

The win brings the Eisern to within one point of Braga, who had to settle for a 3-3 draw in Saint-Gilles despite a two-goal lead. The Berliners will host the group runners-up from Portugal on Matchday 5 (27 October) and will then have the opportunity to establish a good starting position for the final matchday.

Union Berlin host Borussia Dortmund next Sunday from 17.30, while Malmö FF are guests of IFK Göteborg on Monday evening (19.10).

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