MAINZ, Germany (AP) — Hertha Berlin was just seconds from claiming its second Bundesliga win in coach Sandro Schwarz’s return to former club Mainz on Friday.
Then Anthony Caci scored in the last minute of injury time for 1-1 to prolong Hertha’s winless streak against Mainz to seven games.
The coach when Hertha last defeated Mainz in March 2019? Sandro Schwarz.
The Hertha coach was given a warm welcome by Mainz officials for his first match back at his old club after a stint in charge of Dynamo Moscow.
But the warm feelings dissipated once the game started.
Lucas Tousart scored on the half-hour mark for Hertha when he was picked out with a perfect cross from Chidera Ejuke, who was also facing a defender.
Ejuke almost made it 2-0 before the break, but Robin Zentner did brilliantly to save his deflected shot.
Otherwise there were few chances in a hard-fought first half.
The second continued in the same vein with the referee’s whistle becoming more frequent as Mainz pushed for the equalizer.
It finally came in the 94th minute when the Hertha defense failed to clear a hopeful cross from Lee Jae-sung. Karim Onisiwo beat Peter Pekarik to the ball and it fell for Caci – a defender – to sweep it beyond a host of defenders inside the far post.
“The big problem in the second half was that we got involved in the wrestling match. We forgot to seal it,” Schwarz said of his new team's near win. “To concede a goal with the last action is brutal.”