Hertha Berlin 3
Report by Harvey Latimer
Hertha Berlin finished runner-ups in the Elite Section of the SuperCupNI 2023 with an emphatic second half display, beating Liverpool by three goals to nil at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
The first half was shy of goal-mouth action with the game evenly balanced. Liverpool midfielders Josh Davidson and Cody Pennington played some intricate football as Liverpool enjoyed a large share of possession in the opening quarter.
The first chance fell to Hertha’s Dan Karsten who darted to the back post to reach Julius Gottschalk’s corner but Liverpool ‘keeper Nathan Morana saved with his feet.
A moment of inspiration was almost provided by Tim Hoffman after he went on a mazy run past a number of Liverpool defenders but his final touch took the ball too close to Morana.
On the stroke of half time, the Reds came the closest to scoring. Jayden Danns thundered a shot towards the Hertha goal, only for it to bounce back off the crossbar.
Unfortunately for the Reds faithful at the Coleraine Showgrounds, it was Hertha Berlin who put on a second half show. A neat one-two between captain Lukas Michelbrink and Gottschalk created space for the former whose shot sailed narrowly wide. The impressive Hertha captain would go on to break the deadlock. 15 minutes into the half, he fired past Morana with a precise right foot finish.
The Merseysiders tried to respond and forced German shot stopper Tim Goller into action with a couple of efforts from Kieran Morrison but neither overly strained the ‘keeper. However, the pressure from the Germans continued and with ten minutes to go, Nathan Morana dropped the ball from a corner, presenting it to Jamie Sherwood who buried the ball in the net for a two goal lead.
A few minutes later, only the post denied Michelbrink from grabbing a second. The work-rate from the German side was epitomised by a fantastic recovery run by defender Sebastian Weiland preventing winger Keyrol Figueroa from getting in behind.
The game was finished off with a third Hertha goal, thanks to a classy finish from substitute Selim Telib from the edge of the box, firing in from Lukas Sommer’s cross. It wasn’t enough to win the Elite Section but full credit to Hertha who put on a majestic display for the Coleraine crowd.