Late Ya Konan curler saves Hannover a point and Korkut’s job

Didier Ya Konan became the hero for Hannover 96 this afternoon when his left-footed curler from the edge of the box found the top left corner in the 82nd minute to make it 2-2 against Eintracht Frankfurt. Though Hannover dropped to 15th spot in the table, everyone was quick to look at the positives from the game.

A defeat to Frankfurt, who are hoping to keep their hopes of European football alive, would certainly have meant the end of Tayfun Korkut’s reign. Hannover have failed to win since match day 16, a 2-0 win over FC Augsburg.

Despite a strong start, things didn’t look very well in Frankfurt. After missing a couple of good chances from Edgar Prib and defender Felipe, Frankfurt took the lead with a header by Alexander Madlung, who directed a Bastian Oczipka free kick past Ron-Robert Zieler. The goal came as great relief, especially for Madlung, who had scored an 89th minute own goal to deliver Hannover’s 1-0 win in the first leg.

Hannover tried to push for an equalizer, but lone striker Ya Konan lacked the match fitness to get into dangerous positions. The 30-year-old Ivorian got a surprise start because Joselu and Artur Sobiech were both out of the squad (flu and a torn knee ligament, respectively).

After the break, things went from bad to worse, when veteran left-back Christian Schulz tried to play the ball back to his keeper, but was unaware that Haris Seferovic had read his intentions and collected the ball. The Swiss striker only had to square it to Stefan Aigner to double the lead in the 54th minute.

Things looked bleak for Hannover, who had only once this season managed to salvage a point when being behind at the break. Coach Korkut made a double substitution in the 68th minute, replacing wingers Edgar Prib and Jimmy Briand with Miiko Albornoz and Jan Schlaudraff.

Things immediately turned better for the Reds.

A Hiroshi Kiyotake corner ended up in the Frankfurt goal following a deflection off Marcelo’s backside, to cut the deficit in half. It was the 2nd goal of the season by the Brazilian centre back and gave the team from Lower Saxony a big lift to push for an equalizer in the remaining 20 minutes. Schlaudraff most notably aided the team bringing assurance of an experienced player as he tried some good passes.

The whole team worked hard and earned their deserved reward eight minutes from time, when a pass from future Mönchengladbach player Lars Stindl found Ya Konan for the 2-2. One could see big relief on the players’ faces, who continued to push for an eventual winner that simply wasn’t to be.

With the draw, Hannover have taken a minimal step forward away from the relegation spots, thanks to Hamburg and Stuttgart both losing. Korkut will take the fight to make the comeback as a positive and hopefully use it to find a win against Hertha next weekend. The Turkish coach knows his job still hangs by a thread and could be over after the next defeat. A win against Berlin would take a lot of pressure off the last six games of the season which still include opponents like Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim, and Leverkusen.

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Ansgar Löcke is a diehard Hannover fan who has written previously for the Bundesliga Fanatic on his adventures following the 96ers in Pokal competition and in Denmark. You can follow Ansgar on twitter @Ansgarius_90

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