Rally sees Germany draw Ukraine

Germany came from two goals behind to draw 3-3 with Ukraine in a friendly on Friday in the first game in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, which will host the final of next year’s European Championship.

Germany dominated despite missing a number of its top players, but Ukraine was dangerous on the break, and was roared on by the 70,000 crowd.

Ukraine took the lead in the 28th minute through Andriy Yarmolenko, and Yevhen Konoplianka added a second in the 36th after sprinting about 50 yards (45 meters) .

Toni Kroos fired in from distance for Germany’s first in the 39th minute. But Ukraine restored its two-goal lead just before halftime, when Serhiy Nazarenko curled in a similar long-range shot.

Germany started its comeback in the 65th when Simon Rolfes blasted in from a corner, and the equalizer came in the 77th through Thomas Mueller’s 20-yard shot.

Germany had the best of the early exchanges, but Ukraine was holding its shape and defending well. The opening goal came when Andriy Shevchenko found Artem Milevskiy breaking down the right. He flicked a pass to Yaroslav Rakitskiy outside him whose fired cross was bundled in by Yarmolenko.

Eight minutes later, and Ukraine had a second. Milevskiy controlled the ball in his own penalty area and played a long pass to Konoplianka. He raced clear of the defense, took the ball past the goalkeeper and slotted in.

Germany was finally rewarded for its pressure when Kroos curled the ball home and it almost drew level in the 44th minute. Oleksandr Rybka failed to deal with a Mesut Oezil header, which hit the post and then the goalkeeper, who eventually managed to grasp the ball on the goal line.

Ukraine broke immediately forward and substitute Nazarenko, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes, hit a sweet shot into the top corner from 30 yards.

”We made a few mistakes that led to goals, but in general I saw dominance from our team,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. ”I was surprised given the amount of attacks that we (conceded) three goals. Ukraine played well. I have never seen a team fight so hard for the ball.”

Germany started the second half on the attack, but the best two chances fell to Shevchenko and Nazarenko on the break, who both shot wide.

Germany’s second goal came from an Oezil corner, which fell for Rolfes to fire in after the defense failed to clear the ball.

The visitors drew level when Rybka reacted slowly to Mueller’s low shot from 20 yards.

Ukraine could have taken a surprise win at the end, but substitute Marko Devic twice failed to score when put in by passes from Konoplianka.

”I am very satisfied with the game and the result,” Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin said.

”The team rallied together in the face of all the difficulties we’ve had,” he said, referring to the squad’s injury crisis. ”I thanked the team after the game for giving everything.”


Ukraine: Oleksandr Rybka, Yevhen Selin, Oleksandr Kucher, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Bohdan Butko, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Yevhen Konoplianka (Artem Fedetskiy, 90), Roman Bezus (Serhiy Nazarenko, 42), Andriy Yarmolenko (Oleksandr Aliyev, 82), Artem Milevskiy (Marko Devic, 66), Andriy Shevchenko (Oleksiy Hai, 67).

Germany: Ron-Robert Zieler, Dennis Aogo, Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira (Simon Rolfes, 46), Mesut Oesil (Thomas Mueller, 66), Christian Traesch (Andre Schuerrle, 46), Toni Kroos (Lars Bender, 89), Mario Goetze (Lukas Podolski, 66), Mario Gomez (Cacau, 83).