FCA earn a point against Stuttgart
Beljo scores opener in 1-1 draw
FC Augsburg kicked off matchday 29 with a 1-1 draw against VfB Stuttgart. Even though they had won all three of their Friday night fixtures before this game, the Fuggerstädter came away with a single point this time.
Alongside the injured Rafał Gikiewicz and Mergim Berisha, FCA head coach Enrico Maaßen was also without captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, who picked up his 10th yellow card of the season last time out in Leipzig and was suspended. Ermedin Demirović returned from his ban for the game and started the game with Ruben Vargas. Felix Uduokhai wore the captain’s armband.
Both teams started on the front foot, with the home side just edging proceedings – they were rewarded with the opening goal after eight minutes. Arne Engels played his namesake Arne Maier down the right wing, whose cross was perfectly placed in the middle, with Dion Beljo nicking in for 1-0. The goal was the winter arrival’s second of the season, and was yet another early goal from FCA.
The away team, who were able to earn a 3-3 draw with 10 men against Borussia Dortmund last time out, did not let going behind deter them. Chris Fürich took a shot from inside the box, which stung the hands of FCA shot-stopper Tomas Koubek (12’). The in-form Vargas then had to track back for FCA, and did well to stop Josha Vagnoman from getting his attempt away on 16 minutes – a first wave of VfB attack weathered by FCA.
In an attacking sense, Maaßen’s team had a bit of bad luck, as Beljo was brought down just inches outside of the penalty area by Hiroki Ito – the Stuttgart defender was booked for his challenge after 20 minutes. There was not much action in the rest of the half, but Iago was forced off through injury just after the half-hour mark, being replaced by Renato Veiga. There were a couple of occasions where Demirović almost came through on goal, but was too late to the ball.
Lots of changes at the break
Both sides made half-time substitutions to bring fresh energy into the game. Irvin Cardona replaced goalscorer Beljo, whilst VfB coach Sebastian Hoeneß made two changes. FCA’s Maximilian Bauer had the first chance following the restart – the defender narrowly missed his contact with an Engels free-kick on 51 minutes. Four minutes later, substitute Silas suddenly powered into the Augsburg area, but was stopped before his shot could cause any danger.
There was a lack of big chances as the game progressed to its closing stages, where FCA had to deal with the extremely high temp of the away side time and again. Eventually the pressure told, and VfB got their equaliser with 12 minutes to go. A long ball found Wataru Endo in front of goal – the Japan international’s shot was first parried by Koubek, but the ball fell back to him and he buried the rebound. This was the height of the action as the game wound to a close, even though both sides looked to get forward and find a winner.
The draw means FCA remain five points ahead of VfB, with Maaßen’s squad in 13th position. An away trip to Eintracht Frankfurt awaits the Fuggerstädter next Saturday – kick-off on April 29th is 15:30 CEST.