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Podolski’s late strike spares German blushes

An injury time goal from Lukas Podolski spared Germany’s blushes as they scraped a 2-2 draw with the Ivory Coast on Wednesday night. The striker’s 93rd minute equaliser cancelled out Seydou Doumbia’s strike which looked to have secured the victory for the Africans.

Although there was nothing but pride up for grabs in Gelsenkirchen as both nations had already qualified for next summer’s World Cup, there was still a strong sense of emotion about the meeting. This was the first Germany match since goalkeeper Robert Enke tragically comitted suicide. This was unexpectedly the main focus of the match build up as many tributes were made to the late German stopper. Injured skipper Michael Ballack laid a shirt sporting Enke’s name and the number one on the German substitutes bench, whilst there was the obligatory minutes silence. Prior to the match the German’s issued an open letter, saying: “we are playing for Germany, for the fans but above all for you. For a good friend whose death brought us closer together.”

The game was an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Robert Enke

Both teams were missing influencial players. Chelsea midfielder and Germany captain Michael Ballack was ruled out with a knee injury whilst his Chelsea team mate Didier Drogba was still recovering from Johnny Evans’ impression of the karate kid!

It was Germany who started the brightest and Podolski gave them the lead after 12 minutes. Stefan Kiessling was upended by Guy Demel in the area and the Cologne striker stepped up to cooly convert the spot kick. It was just desserts for Joachim Low’s men who looked the more lively of the two teams throughout the first half. This isn’t to say that the Ivorian’s didn’t have their chances though as Emmanuel Eboue and Sekou Cisse both had good chances.

Lukas Podolski’s two goals grabbed a draw for Germany

The equaliser came in comical fashion in the 57th minute. Keeper Manuel Neuer, a half time replacement for Tim Wiese, received a back pass from Heiko Westermann. The Shalke stopper made the clearance but it only went as far as Eboue, as it cannoned off him and flew into the back of the net. Eboue clearly didn’t know much about it but a goal’s a goal.

This goal seemed to spark the Germans into action as Mario Gomez and Podolski both saw good chances go begging, so it was perhaps a surprise to see the Ivory Coast take a late lead in the 85th minute. Substitute Doumbia Seydou took on Westermann and Per Mertesacker and fired a fantastic effort into the far corner.

Doumbia Seydou thought he’d won the game for the Ivory Coast

You could be forgiven for thinking that the victory was safe for the Ivorians but it was to be Podolski who had the last laugh as he popped up three minutes into stoppage time, turning Kolo Toure and finished fantastically, bending the ball into the corner of Aristide Zogbo’s goal.

Despite the Germans disappointment at not sealing a win, the whole atmosphere around the stadium showed that the result was a secondary concern. This game was about paying tribute to Robert Enke, and they did exactly that.

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