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Hertha boost survival hopes with win at Schalke

Berlin (AFP) – Hertha Berlin took a big step towards Bundesliga survival with a 2-1 comeback win at bottom side Schalke on Wednesday.

Goals by captain Dedryck Boyata and second-half replacement Jessic Ngankam sealed Hertha’s away win after Morocco’s Amine Harit had scored an early goal for the hosts, who are already relegated.

“That was a deserved win. We conceded a goal from nothing, but fought back and did a great job,” said Hertha coach Pal Dardai.

The Hertha boss was booked following the final whistle after a heated exchange with the referee.

“I just gave my opinion and was shown a yellow card, it’s done,” added Dardai.

“The referee didn’t accept my opinion, we’re all men, all good. Life goes on.”

Hertha spent the final two weeks of April in quarantine due to several cases of Covid-19 in the squad, but have now taken seven points from their three re-scheduled matches in the last 10 days.

A draw with Mainz and a home win against Freiburg in last week’s catch-up games, before Sunday’s goalless draw with Arminia Bielefeld, has seen Hertha climb second-from-bottom to now sit 13th – three points ahead of the bottom three.

However, they host second-from-bottom Cologne in a crunch match on Saturday without striker Dodi Lukebakio who will be suspended after being sent off in the dying stages for a second yellow card.

With just six minutes gone, hosts Schalke went ahead when Harit danced past several challenges before placing his shot into the bottom corner across Hertha goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow.

Hertha drew level with 19 minutes gone when centre-back Boyata powered in a header having been left unmarked at the far post when the visitors swung in a free-kick from the left. 

It was 1-1 at the break, but Hertha lost Poland striker Krzysztof Piatek who hobbled off early in the second half with an injury.

It was his replacement Ngankam, 20, who jinked past two Schalke defenders to fire home the winner 16 minutes from time to score only his second goal for Hertha, who he joined as a six-year-old.

Hertha rode their luck in added time after Lukebakio’s red card as Harit hit the post with a header and Schalke’s replacement striker Raman Benito also rattled the woodwork with his shot.

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