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St. Pauli's Philipp Treu in a duel with Shuto Machino and Lewis Holtby

Photo: Frank Molter/dpa

FC St. Pauli has taken another big step closer to its goal of promotion to the Bundesliga.

The leaders of the 2nd Bundesliga won 4:3 (3:0) at Holstein Kiel and are now six points ahead of their closest rivals.

Oladapo Afolayan scored twice for the exceptionally efficient Hamburg team (11th minute/36th minute), Marcel Hartel (34th minute) and Connor Metcalfe (57th minute) also contributed one goal each.

Shuto Machino (53rd) and Joshua Mees (65th) were able to reduce the deficit for Kiel, Alexander Bernhardsson even managed to score the next goal (82nd), but it wasn't enough to do more.

It was initially not foreseeable that the top game between the two northern clubs would be decided in St. Pauli's favor at halftime.

Kiel disrupted early on, Finn Porath with a lift (5th) and Shuto Machino (9th) narrowly missed their first chances.

Out of nowhere, Afolayan put the guests in front: The Englishman started dribbling on the left edge of the penalty area, put the ball on his right foot and hit the far corner (11th).

Kiel worked to equalize: a corner from Marvin Schulz hit the crossbar (21').

Seconds later, the advanced left-back Tom Rothe hit the inside post, goalkeeper Nikola Vasilj brought the ball under control on the goal line at the last moment.

St. Pauli then showed less mercy: Hartel ran free for a cross from Connor Metcalfe and pushed the ball over the line from close range (34th).

Shortly afterwards, Hartel stole the ball from inattentive Kielers and again set Afolayan in the spotlight, who scored at half-time (36').

In the duel in the first half of the season, Kiel was already 3-0 down after 45 minutes, and the game ended 5-1 from KSV Holstein's perspective.

Machino, whose shot into the near corner let Vasilj slip through (53'), gave hope that things would turn out more smoothly this time.

Although the guests quickly restored the old distance through Metcalfe (57th), Kiel showed morale: Machino passed off for Mees after a corner, and the offensive man, who came on as a substitute in the second half, kept Kiel in the game with a powerful finish (65th).

Bernhardsson, who was also a substitute, gave the game an exciting final phase with his first goal in the second division (82'), but his best chance to equalize went just over the goal from seven meters (88').

On the visitors' side, Carlo Boukhalfa hit the crossbar late (90+4).

St. Pauli now has 48 points.

Kiel will end the match day in second place with 42 points, but gives the other pursuers the chance to catch up to the direct promotion places.