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Three Penalty Strikes And You're Out
by Ian Plenderleith, September 24th, 2008 7AM



[GERMAN CUP] When you're at the foot of the Bundesliga, you don't turn down gifts. Energie Cottbus took full advantage of all three penalty kicks it was awarded during its home second round German FA Cup tie with Borussia Moenchengladbach. The 3-0 win won't help the only eastern side in Germany's top flight to climb the table, but it could turn out to be a valuable boost for morale.

Dimitar Rangelov took and scored the first penalty in the 42nd minute. Cottbus may have an arcane policy that if you draw a foul for a penalty kick, you're not allowed to take the kick yourself. For it was Rangelov who was fouled both times for the two second-half spot kick awards, but veteran Albanian midfielder Ervin Skela who converted them.

"In my view, all three penalties were completely justified," said Cottbus coach Brojan Prasnikar. His Moenchengladbach counterpart Jos Luhukay had no complaints either, bemoaning only his team's lack of penetration, and falling back on the time-worn consolation that "at least now we can fully concentrate on the Bundesliga." There was no place in his team for Michael Bradley, had made his league debut last weekend in a 1-0 loss to Hertha Berlin.

Elsewhere, out of eight games played, Hansa Rostock was one of two teams able to overcome opposition from a higher tier, winning 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt after overtime. American Heath Pearce lasted 61 minutes for Rostock. Not exactly a shock, but second division Mainz topped the Bundesliga's FC Cologne 3-1.

League leaders Schalke beat Hannover 2-0, and again there was no sign of ailing American Steve Cherundolo, although compatriot Sal Zizzo, 21, made an appearance on 72 minutes, shortly before Heiko Westermann sealed the game for Schalke with his second goal. After two hours of goalless play at home to MSV Duisburg, American Gregg Berhalter was one of 1860 Munich's successful converters as the Bavarian club outshot its fellow division two opponents from the penalty spot, 5-4.


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