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Ten-man Leipzig miss out on second after home draw with Hertha


Berlin (AFP) – Ten-man RB Leipzig missed the chance to go second in the Bundesliga on Wednesday as Hertha Berlin forward Krzysztof Piatek equalised with a late penalty to seal a 2-2 draw behind closed doors – and save the blushes of goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.

Piatek, who joined Hertha in January for around 25 million euros ($27 million) from AC Milan, netted his second goal in nine Bundesliga matches when he fired home a penalty on 82 minutes.

“I was feeling good, it was an important goal for me and the team,” said Piatek, 24, who came on for the final twenty minutes, replacing veteran striker Vedad Ibisevic, 35.

Piatek stepped up to take the penalty just after Ibisevic had been substituted off.

“I’m not happy, I want to play. He is in great form, but I hope to play some more minutes,” added Piatek when asked about his under-study role to Ibisevic.

The Polish striker slotted home after team-mate Matheus Cunha was fouled in the box by a rash challenge from Leipzig’s ex-Everton winger Ademola Lookman.

Piatek’s penalty snatched a point, stretched Bruno Labbadia’s unbeaten record as Hertha head coach to three games and spared the blushes of Hertha goalkeeper Jarstein.

The Norwegian shot-stopper was embarrassed when he parried an effort by Leipzig striker Patrik Schick but allowed tha ball to roll over his flailing arm and into his net to make it 2-1 on 68 minutes.

Leipzig had just been reduced to ten men when defender Marcel Halstenberg was sent off for a second yellow card after a late foul on Brazil Under-23 striker Cunha, who was playing against the club he left in January.

The first-half finished 1-1 after Hertha took an early lead when midfielder Marko Grujic, on loan from Liverpool, volleyed a corner into the top corner with nine minutes gone.

The hosts fought back and equalised when defender Lukas Klostermann  headed home a corner with 24 minutes gone.  

The result leaves Leipzig third in the table, two points behind Dortmund, who lost 1-0 on Tuesday to leaders Bayern Munich who are seven points clear and on course for an eighth straight German league title.

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