Inui could do it

Allianz Arena - If 1860 fans were expecting to see a continuation of the solid 3-0 win last time out at Duisburg they were bitterly disappointed by what the Lions gave them today. An early strike from Takashi Inui and an unfortunate own goal from Collin Benjamin put Sechzig severely on the back foot inside the opening twenty minutes.

The Lions improved in the second half but Benjamin Lauth nonchalantly missed a dreadfully taken penalty before being allowed time and space to turn and score from inside the area shortly afterwards. Sechzig turned up the pressure and had plenty of chances to equalize but found themselves lacking any attacking quality. Despite the home side having the 'Lions share' of possession, it was Bochum that finished the game off in the final minute when substitute Aydin slotted home with 1860 over-committed further up the pitch.

From the kick-off it was clear that Bochum were going to take the game to their hosts. They moved the ball around with ease and composure. Inui, Tese and Ginczek gave the visitors plenty of options going forward and it took them just eight minutes to take the lead. Unopposed in the six-yard box, Federico cut the ball back across the face of the goal and Takashi Inui was on hand to steer it past a helpless Gabor Kiraly. They don't come much easier than that, a real gift.

The lead was doubled after 18 minutes when Collin Benjamin glanced the ball, taken from a corner, into his own net. It was a cruel blow but it gave Bochum a comfortable cushion and the visitors could easily have added more.
Bochum ran the show with Inui impressing in the role of midfield general. Vision, control and a deft touch were all in his arsenal of weapons and the Japanese midfielder deployed them all to great effect. So aware was he that he even tested Kiraly from 50 yards with a wonderful chip that rattled the crossbar. The Lions goalkeeper very nearly paid the price for loitering so far off his line and was thankful that the woodwork saved his and the team's blushes.

Sechzig showed no bite and created very little. Lauth and B├╝low both went missing for large parts of the first half and that left only Daniel Bierofka to earn his wages. The veteran midfielder really got stuck in and showed some real quality in midfield. The only shame was that his hard work and effort didn't bear any fruit.

Reiner Maurer brought Arne Feick on for Sandro Kaiser after 33 minutes, a move that didn't seem to please the youngster too much but it did give the home side some added impetus on the left flank. The first half petered out with Bochum having taken their foot off the pedal and 1860 glad of a rest.

We could only imagine that Maurer's team of misfits got the hairdryer treatment at half-time because the second half was a noticeable improvement.

Lauth's lax penalty miss capped a disappointing day. Photo: TSV 1860 Munich
Lauth's lax penalty miss capped a disappointing day. Photo: TSV 1860 Munich
Bochum's defence began to be tested and TSV were able to enjoy large chunks of possession. Lauth woke up just before the hour mark and won a penalty in the 56th minute. The sad part was that in front of 18,300 fans he casually strolled up for the spot-kick and nonchalantly tried to pass the ball into the net. It was an awful penalty and showed the kind of complacency fans have recently come to expect from the club captain. Heavy hearts sank all around the Allianz Arena - except of course for the small band of travelling fans - who were glad to see their goalkeeper keep that one out.

Lauth did go some way to making amends for his disastrous penalty though when in the 65th minute the Bochum defence stood off him and allowed him to fire in a shot on the turn. It was a spectacular finish but with that amount of time and space even Cacilia, a Lions fan celebrating her 100th birthday at the match, could have scored it!

1860 really stepped up a gear during the last 20 minutes and had countless chances to grab an equalizer. Kevin Volland's chance when he was left unmarked just outside the six-yard box was possibly the most wasteful, unable to generate any power with his shot when all he had to do was hit the target.

The match was well and truly finished off when in the final minute substitute Mirkan Aydin took advantage of Sechzig's over-commitment to scoring at the other end and found himself with just Benjamin for company. The big defender fell on his backside, Aydin's shot from the edge of the penalty area crept in at the far post and the match ended 1-3.

There is still a long way to go this season but the signs are clear that 1860 blow hot one week and cold the next. Inconsistency like this means a "typical" Lions season is on the cards and a mid-table finish is the best that can be expected once again.

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