Pros 17.09.2022 — 00:08 Uhr

Caci rescues point at the death

The Zerofivers snatched a point with the last kick of the game at the MEWA ARENA on Friday evening.

The Zerofivers left it very late in their 1-1 draw with Hertha BSC

It was a relatively scrappy affair at the MEWA ARENA on Friday evening when Mainz took on Sandro Schwarz’s Hertha BSC, but it certainly ended with a bang. It looked for all the world that the Zerofivers would fall to a defeat, but substitute Anthony Caci’s injury time strike rescued a point for Svensson’s side. Lucas Tousart gave the visitors the lead in what was a first half with very few chances. Hertha remained resolute throughout the contest and Mainz, who were missing the likes of Jonny Burkardt, lacked the fire power needed to break their opponents down.

Bo Svensson made two changes from the side that faced Hoffenheim last weekend. Edimilson Fernandes came in for the suspended Alexander Hack and Jae-Sung Lee replaced the injured Jonny Burkardt. Former Zerofiver Jean-Paul Boëtius started the game for Hertha. Svensson utilised a 5-2-3 system, with Fernandes at right wing-back, Widmer at right centre-half and Stefan Bell at centre-back.

A tough start for both sides

Both sides found it difficult in the early stages and there were few chances to speak of. Karim Onisiwo had the first real opportunity of the game from 20 yards out, but he blazed his effort over the cross bar (18’). The visitors won the ball in some good areas but Mainz remained strong at the back to quell any real threat. Chidera Ejuke had a speculative effort in the 28th minute, but his shot was just as wayward as Onisiwo’s a few minutes earlier (28’).

It was the guests, however, who eventually seized the initiative after some careless Mainz defending. Maxim Leitsch failed to clear his lines and after a sloppy clearance, the ball fell to Ejuke out-wide, who had plenty of time to pick out Tousart in the box. The 25-year-old was unchallenged in the centre and he headed it past Robin Zentner to give his side the lead (31’). The goal, however, did little to change the quality of the match but it was Hertha who continued to look the likelier of the two sides. Ejuke had a golden opportunity to double the visitors’ lead a few moments before the break, but Robin Zentner made an important save to deny the Nigerian (41’). Mainz’s Fernandes had the final opportunity of the half, but his left-footed shot way wayward (45+1).

The turgid affair continues after the break, but Mainz’s patience is rewarded

Svensson made one change at the break, with Marlon Mustapha coming on for Angelo Fulgini. It was the hosts who made the better start to the half, and Lee had an opportunity in the 47th minute, but his effort was blocked (47’). Despite a slightly more fluid game of football, chances were still few and far between. The gaffer brought on Anthony Caci for Aaron in attempt to liven things up on the left wing (54’) and he then brought on Danny da Costa for the injured Fernandes (60’). Leandro Barreiro was presented with an opportunity midway through the half, but his headed effort failed to test Oliver Christensen (64’).

Svensson continued to make some positive changes and he brought on Marcus Ingvartsen and Aymen Barkok on for Stefan Bell and Marlon Mustapha with just over ten minutes remaining (79’). FSV switched to four at the back in order to put more pressure on their opponents at the top of the pitch. Ingvartsen nearly made an instant impact, but he failed to get the desired connection with his effort inside the penalty area (81’). The Dane had another chance from a corner in injury time, but he put his shot wide of the post. It looked as though time was running out for the Zerofivers but their tenacity and determination would eventually pay off. With seconds remaining, Widmer rolled the dice for one final time with a long ball into the penalty area and it was chased down by Lee. Lee’s looked to find Onisiwo with a cross into the six yard box but it came off the Austrian’s shoulder. Luckily, the ball dropped perfectly into the path of Anthony Caci, who remained cool to slot it past Christensen from around ten yards out to send the home supporters wild (90+4). This proved to be the last kick of the game and it ended 1-1 at the MEWA ARENA.

The Zerofivers are sat sixth in the Bundesliga table on eleven points after seven matches. Next up for FSV is trip to Freiburg on 1st October (15:30 CEST) after the international break. After that, Svensson’s side will face Marco Rose’s Leipzig at the MEWA ARENA.

Anthony Caci was Mainz's saviour on Friday evening