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Podolski earns Germany draw vs China

May 29, 2009 20:35 IST
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A tired and weakened Germany got their Asian Tour got off to a lacklustre start when they were held to a 1-1 draw by a young China team in an international friendly on Friday.

Showing the clear effects of a gruelling season, Germany needed an equaliser from Lukas Podolski to cancel out Hao Junmin's opener and avoid an embarrassing defeat to the Chinese, who are 95 places below them in the FIFA rankings.

China played the brighter football throughout and would have handed Gao Hongbo an impressive victory to start his reign as national team coach if they had shown a little more composure in front of goal.

They took a shock lead after five minutes when midfielder Hao skipped past Middlesbrough's Robert Huth and lashed the ball over Hanover goalkeeper Robert Enke from a tight angle.

Podolski had the visitors back on level terms two minutes later, however, when Bastian Schweinsteiger's through ball caught the Chinese defence flat and left the striker with the simple task of beating goalkeeper Yang Zhi.

Gao had given new caps to two players and left the experienced Zheng Zhi and Zhou Haibin on the bench and when they were brought on in the second half, China dominated the possession even more, although Enke was rarely troubled.

Gao Lin and Zheng were among those who spurned chances to finish off China's neat approach play, while Schweinsteiger should have done better than blast the ball wide when he beat the offside trap with seven minutes remaining.

Saturday's German and English FA Cup finals robbed Germany coach Joachim Loew of several regulars -- including captain Michael Ballack -- allowing Stuttgart's Brazilian-born striker Cacau and Wolfsburg's Christian Gentner to make their debuts.

Germany play the United Arab Emirates in the second match of the Asia Tour in Dubai on Tuesday.

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