REPORT | South Korea 3-3 Germany: Gnabry late show saves the day

Germany were involved in another scintillating fixture in the Olympic Men’s football as they drew 3-3 against South Korea in Salvador.

Germany had made one change from the team which drew to Mexico on matchday one, but it proved to be a key alteration; Serge Gnabry, drafted in for the injured captain Leon Goretzka, was one of three players whose guile and creativity invigorated the German attack. The other two, Max Meyer and Julian Brandt, formed the remainder of a triumvirate which dominated the early exchanges.

However, whatever lessons Germany may have learned against Mexico, they appeared to have already forgotten them. Just as susceptible to counter-attacks and looking shaky from corners, it was the latter which led to the opening goal for South Korea. A knock-down from Jeong Seung-hyun found the feet of striker Hwang Hee-chan who squeezed his shot off the post and into the back of the net. But as if to foreshadow the rest of the game, Korea’s lead did not last. Germany struck back eight minutes later – a through ball from Brandt found Gnabry, who curled home from 15 yards, meaning the sides entered the break one apiece.

Despite some nervous moments from Timo Horn early in the second period, Germany rode an early wave of pressure and eventually it was the Korean’s turn to be caught on the break. A swift counter ended in Meyer threading Davie Selke through, whose delicate chip found the back of the net via goalkeeper Kim Dong-Jun. This lead wasn’t long-lived either – two minutes later, Hwang turned from scorer to provider and a smart finish from Son Heung-Min levelled the game at 2-2.

After a period of relative detente followed, the German defence was again found wanting. After some pinball in the box following a Korean attack, the ball fell to substitute Suk Hyun-Jun who slotted into an empty net with just four minutes to play.

Korea had chances to kill the game off but conspired not to take them and were left to rue such clumsiness when Germany won a free kick about 20 yards from goal. Almost as if scripted, Gnabry stepped up and his deflected strike left Kim helpless in the Korean goal. Germany can count themselves lucky to have drawn this one but they’ve provided us with some of the most electric action that Rio has seen during these Olympic games.

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