Soccer

Kiyotake stunner earns Hannover point at Wolfsburg

Kyodo

Midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake opened his season account with a superbly taken finish to earn struggling Hannover a 1-1 derby draw away to Wolfsburg in the German first division on Saturday.

Bas Dost headed Wolfsburg in front in the 40th minute after a well-timed run into the box, but man-of-the-match Kiyotake stole the show with a 57th-minute equalizer to earn his side only their second point of the season.

The World Cup midfielder took a ball into the box from Manuel Schmiedebach on his chest before smashing a volley in off the underside of the crossbar, but he admitted afterward that he was disappointed the Reds, who are still bottom of the table, could not take all three points.

“Our opponents have been playing in the Champions League and to be honest they looked tired and it was not a great performance from them so we would like to have taken all three points,” said Kiyotake.

“There has not been a single game where we haven’t conceded this season and that has always been a problem we need to fix. Still, coming from a goal down is a positive we can take from today.

“(This result) today has given us a bit of a new lease of life, I guess. Everyone gets down when we keep losing but Man (Schmiedebach) coming back has energized us. He has got guts and pulls the team forward.”

Kiyotake modestly downplayed his contribution when asked about his fabulous equalizer, saying, “Everyone was watching Man and I just got behind the defense and trapped the ball and hit it.”

But his goal earned praise from Hannover striker Artur Sobiech, who also felt Hannover could have come away with a win.

“Perhaps we could have won today, but we have to be happy with a point in Wolfsburg after a tough week,” Sobiech told the club’s official website.

“Hiroshi Kiyotake’s goal was a lovely move and we showed that we can defend compactly. We need to work hard next week and make sure we take three points at home against Bremen.”

Defender Marcelo added, “It was a great game today. We controlled Wolfsburg’s attackers well and we’ll take a lot of confidence from the point. It’s really important to build on that against Bremen next week. Every game is tough in the Bundesliga but at home we’ll have chances.”

Hannover defender Hiroki Sakai missed out after hurting his right leg on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Japan striker Yoshinori Muto put in a full shift but Mainz crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to league leaders Bayern Munich.