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Montag, 25. Oktober 2004, 22:19

yanks-abroad.com: 'DOLO SCORES, INJURED IN HANNOVER WIN

'DOLO SCORES, INJURED IN HANNOVER WIN

Bert Pickert for Yanks Abroad Saturday, October 23, 2004

After seventy-one 1. Bundesliga matches, defender Steve Cherundolo tallied his first top-flight goal, but later left the field on a stretcher as Hannover extended their winning streak to three games over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

After an opening spell of slow, cautious play from both sides, the first scoring chance for either team came in the 15th from the home side, when a Per Kluge drive only found side netting after having beaten Cherundolo on the left flank.

Two minutes later though, the home fans would rue the miss, as 96 went ahead with their first chance of the match after Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Krupnikovic received a short corner from the right.

With the Gladbach defense expecting Krupnikovic's looping offering to sail out of play, Brazilian Leandro found himself unmarked, and was able to latch on to the cross; sending it back across the face of goal, where the awaiting Per Mertesacker finished from near point blank range.

The home side's only responses to the quick strike failed miserably, when a 20 yard shot from Enrico Gaede and a weak header from Thomas Broich were both easily saved by Hannover keeper Robert Enke.

Krupnikovic was again involved, as he led a counterattack from the deep in central midfield, that resulted in a shocking goal from the most unlikeliest of sources.

A surprise run into the area by Cherundolo was noticed by the midfielder who sent in a prodding ball from inside his own half. After an initial first bounce just outside the box, Cherundolo showed a bit of offensive flair not commonly attributed to the Illinois native, when he chipped to himself deftly, then lobbed shocked Gladbach netminder Darius Kampa with a cheeky header, sending Hannover into the break with a 2 goal lead.

"I am happy more for the team than for scoring my first Bundesliga goal," Cherundolo later commented.

Opening his top-flight account would not be the only highlight of the match for Cherundolo, when a moment of trepidation befell the American and brought the stadium to temporary silence.

While going airborne for a 50-50 ball, a violent head-to-head collision with Kluge rendered the diminutive defender momentarily unconscious. Cherundolo was immediately taken off on a stretcher, and although regained his senses a short time later, he was rightfully substituted by Croatian midfielder Danijel Stefulj.

"I still have a headache," the Hannover vice-captain said. "The doctor will tell me more back in Hannover, but I think I will be able to play on Tuesday against Kaiserslautern."

In the last true opportunity of the match, Gladbach's rightful claims for a penalty ten minutes later would fall on deaf ears, as Referee Wolfgang Stark unjustly awarded a free kick outside the box, instead of pointing to the spot after Leandro had clearly fouled Broich in the box.

With the victory Hannover climbs to a lofty 6th in the 1 Bundesliga standings, and they look to extend their winning streak to four games as the welcome last placed Kaiserslautern to the AWD Arena.

Clint Mathis continued to find himself on the outside looking in, as he was yet again not selected for the game day roster, his exile stretching into a 4th week.
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