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Bizarre penalty helps Mainz past relegation rivals Freiburg


Berlin (Germany) (AFP) – A bizarrely awarded penalty and a goalkeeping howler helped Mainz to a vital 2-0 victory over Bundesliga relegation rivals Freiburg on Monday.

Following a nervy first half Mainz took the lead in curious circumstances when they were given a penalty by Video Assistant Referee system VAR after the referee had already blown for half-time.

Freiburg’s Marc-Oliver Kempf was ruled to have handled the ball seconds before the whistle, and he and his team-mates were called back from the dressing room for the penalty to be taken.

Pablo De Blasis kept his cool from 12 yards to give Mainz the lead.

“It leaves a bitter taste, but we have to accept it with a heavy heart,” Freiburg sporting director Jochen Saier told Eurosport at half-time. 

“We were under the impression that, when the referee blows for half-time, that’s it.”

The confusion continued after the break, as fans threw toilet rolls onto the pitch in protest against Monday night games, delaying the restart by several minutes.

Mainz remained the stronger team in the second half, and De Blasis wrapped up victory 11 minutes from time after an embarrassing error from Alexander Schwolow.

The Freiburg keeper gifted Mainz possession inside his own penalty area, and Colin Quaison squared the ball to provide De Blasis with an open goal.

The win saw Mainz move out of the bottom three for the first time since January, drawing level on points with Freiburg, who drop down into the relegation play-off place.

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