Hannover hold off Wolfsburg
Ten-man Hannover held on for three points as they beat luckless Wolfsburg 2-1 in the Lower Saxony derby.
Last Updated: 26/01/13 7:57pm
First-half goals from Mohammed Abdellaoue and Mame Diouf proved decisive at the Niedersachsenstadion as 10-man Hannover held on for three points in the Lower Saxony derby against a luckless Wolfsburg.
The Reds had new signing Sebastien Pocognoli sent off in the 34th minute and were on the ropes after Alexander Madlung halved the deficit for the visitors in the first minute of the second half.
But, despite their best efforts, the Wolves were unable to find an equaliser.
Diego Benaglio managed to get his foot to the ball first to deny Abdellaoue a goal in the first minute, but the Swiss goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the Norwegian opening the scoring two minutes later.
Sofian Chahed sent the ball long and Simon Klaer was caught out by Abdellaoue, who was allowed to run into the penalty area and pick his spot in the top corner.
Hannover, who conceded five goals last weekend, were then asked plenty of defensive questions by a Wolfsburg side who had clearly done their homework.
The Reds' backline was more robust this time, though, and they held firm with Mario Eggimann authoritative on several occasions to keep the Wolves at bay.
Pocognoli took the term robustness a bit too far, though, and his debut ended after 34 minutes when he was shown a straight red card for a foul on Fagner.
Abdellaoue was sacrificed as Christian Pander was brought on to shore up the defence, and within a minute Hannover doubled their lead.
Chahed was once again the provider with a cross from the right. Diouf's header struck the post before bouncing back off the Hannover striker's shoulder and into the back of the net.
Diouf, who scored a spectacular overhead-kick against Schalke last weekend, showed his acrobatic best again, this time to keep Hannover two goals in front as he cleared the ball off the goal-line on the stroke of half-time.
Wolfsburg had done little wrong in the first half and they carried on in a similar vein in the second 45 minutes, getting their reward immediately.
Madlung's first touch of the ball after replacing Kjaer during the interval was a shot which beat Ron Robert Zieler and gave the Wolves hope.
Zieler more than made up for not keeping that shot out, though, as he denied Naldo and Ivica Olic, while inaccurate finishing from Marcel Schafer and Vieirinha also contributed to Wolfsburg failing to find an equaliser.
The Germany goalkeeper then exceeded himself by keeping Bas Dost's header out, clutching Hannover's first three points of 2013 tightly to his chest.