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SPORTS | 09-10-2019 21:26

Albiceleste rally to draw 2-2 against Germany in friendly

Argentina bounce back from poor first half to secure draw in Dortmund, with goals from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos.

A weakened Albiceleste side came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against  injury-hit Germany team in a friendly in Dortmund on Wednesday night.

Playing without the suspended Lionel Messi – or the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María or Sergio Agüero - the visitors still managed to cancel out first-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz with second-half strikes from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos, who scored on his debut.

Germany coach Joachim Löw gave four players their international debuts, including Freiburg teammates Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt, and Nadiem Amiri and Suat Serdar, who came on in the second half.

But Löw's side lost control in the second half and allowed the visitors to level after Bayern Leverkusen forward Alario came on for Paulo Dybala in the 62nd minute.

Alario scored in the 66th and set up Ocampos to equalise in the 85th.

Experimental

Both sides fielded experimental line-ups with star players missing. 

Germany flew into a 2-0 lead thanks to first-half goals by Gnabry and Havertz, but Alario turned the game in the second-half when he came on for Argentina. The Bayer Leverkusen striker pulled a goal back, then set up Lucas Ocampos for a late equaliser.

Despite 13 withdrawals due to either illness or injury, Germany impressed early against the Albiceleste. Meanwhile, with Messi suspended for comments made at the Copa América, Juventus' Dybala partnered Lautaro Martínez up front.

This match was a repeat of the 2014 World Cup final, yet Argentina's Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo was the only survivor from when the Germans won in Rio de Janeiro. He partnered Manchester City veteran Nicolas Otamendi in an Argentina defence which crumbled early on.

A week after scoring four goals for Bayern Munich at Tottenham Hotspur, Gnabry put Germany ahead on 15 minutes. The winger used his pace when Atlético Madrid's Angel Correa lost possession to get in behind the defence to stab the ball past goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín.

When Rojo then lost the ball to Waldschmidt, Gnabry turned provider, using his pace to present Havertz with a simple tap-in on 22 minutes.

Turnaround

Argentina let their frustrations show as Otamendi and Rodrigo de Paul were booked for clattering Julian Brandt and Gnabry respectively.

It should have been 3-0 when Brandt just failed to connect with a Niklas Süle header with the goal at his mercy as it stayed 2-0 at the break.

However, the Albiceleste had the best of the second-half, starting when coach Lionel Scaloni put Alario on for Dybala on 62 minutes.

The Leverkusen striker showed his strength in the air to head past Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen four minutes later.

The visitors equalised when Alario set up Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos, a second-half replacement for Correa, to blast past ter Stegen five minutes from time.

The match was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of the two people shot dead in the German city of Halle earlier Wednesday in an anti-Semitic attack.

Praise

Scaloni praised his battling side post-match

"We matured during the game," he said. "We made two or three mistakes in the first half, but got a grip in the second half, were more patient and we take a lot of positives for the future. I was impressed with the attitude, we didn't give up when we went 2-0 down."

Germany head coach Joachim Löw admitted his side faded after a bright start.

"We wanted to be in the game right from the off, but unfortunately we couldn't hold on for 90 minutes," said Loew. "We lost a few balls, a bit of courage and got into trouble."

– TIMES/AFP/AP

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