The Boys in Brown slipped to a 2-1 defeat against New York Cosmos in the first of two friendlies on their 2019 tour of the United States. Sami Allagui equalised from the spot after Emanuele Sembroni had given the hosts a sixth-minute lead, only for Aly Hassan to snatch a late winner for the Cosmos.
The two teams were anxiously studying the weather forecasts going into the match, with heavy storms and fierce winds on the cards, and possibly even a tornado. But when the game kicked off, the storm god proved to be a football fan, and the weather played ball. Another to play ball was Under-19 defender Jannes Wieckhoff, who made his debut for the senior side. And there was more pleasing news when Marvin Knoll was pronounced fit to play after missing out recently to an abdominal muscle injury.
The Boys in Brown made a reasonable start to the proceedings, but it was the home side who registered the first big chance through Bljedi Bardic with five minutes on the clock. Robin Himmelmann was able to turn his shot out for a corner, but when the ball came in, there was nothing he could do to prevent Emanuele Sembroni from converting a Matt Lewis flick-on from close range.
Nine minutes later Jos Luhukay’s charges were level when Sembroni handled the ball in a penalty-box challenge with Kevin Lankford and the referee pointed to the spot. Captain Sami Allagui stepped up and smashed the ball straight down the middle to restore parity. From then on, the two sides largely cancelled each other out. The Cosmos did go close twice through Charlie Ledula and David Diosa, but there was to be no further scoring before the break.
Luhukay deployed all but one of his allotted substitutes for the second half, but it made little difference on the pitch as the weather steadily deteriorated. In the 65thminute Cosmos sub Aaron Dennis almost rained on the FCSP parade, but Korbinian Müller was perfectly placed to make a decent save.
It needed something different and the St. Pauli coaching team threw something of a curve ball on 72 minutes, handing secret weapon Svend Brodersen his senior debut as an outfield player in place of front man Kevin Lankford. Unfortunately, this rather unconventional weapon failed to fire in the closing stages, and when the game did explode into life again, it was at the other end. Aaron Dennis teed up fellow substitute Aly Hassan, who beat Müller to ball and netted to earn his side a late win.
It was left to Jan-Philipp Kalla, who missed the game due to a muscle strain, to provide a none-too-serious assessment of the 90 minutes: „Towards the end, you could see we were out on our feet. It was end-to-end stuff throughout, which obviously takes it out of you. We had a few chances, but if you don’t take them, you invariably end up conceding one at the other end. At the end of the day, you’re left wondering how it could have happened.“