Hannover see off Stuttgart
Didier Ya Konan scored twice to earn Hannover a 2-1 win over Bundesliga strugglers Stuttgart on Friday, keeping them in contention for a UEFA Champions League place.
Ya Konan opened the scoring in the 35th minute and struck the winner just two minutes after Georg Niedermeier's 74th-minute equaliser. The win lifted Hannover up to second in the Bundesliga table, for 24 hours at least, while Stuttgart remain in the bottom three.
Ya Konan was soon causing problems for the visitors, cutting inside from the right and creating space for a shot with a neat stepover before firing straight at goalkeeper Sven Ulreich. Ya Konan then laid the ball off for Lars Stindl whose effort was parried by Ulreich, while Emanuel Pogatetz headed a great chance from Sergio Pinto's corner over the crossbar at the far post.
And the pressure told as the hosts went ahead ten minutes before the break. A hopeless attempted clearance from Manuel Schmiedebach's ball across goal fell right to the unmarked Ya Konan and, with just Ulreich to beat, he slid the ball through the keeper's legs and into the net. Schmiedebach made a crucial intervention at the other end to keep Hannover in front, blocking a header from Cacau, who had arrived at the far post, on the line.
Ulreich continued to be by far the busier stopper, though, and he had to tip Sofian Chahed's long-range effort round the post. But it was a mistake from Hannover goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz which gave Stuttgart their equaliser in the 74th minute. He came to punch clear Timo Gebhart's free-kick but was beaten to the ball by Niedermeier, whose header found the net.
Just two minutes, though, Ya Konan put Hannover back in front with another clinical finish. The Ivorian ran onto a long ball from Christian Schulz and, one-on-one with Ulreich, again coolly nutmegged the keeper. Stuttgart had a late chance to snatch a point but Johan Audel's header from Arthur Boka's cross went narrowly wide.