Kobel the saviour as Switzerland hold Germany
Friday, 9 May 2014
Germany 1-1 Switzerland
After substitute Boris Babic had levelled for Switzerland, Gregor Kobel saved a late penalty to ensure a Group B draw.
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Germany and Switzerland began UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group B by playing out an entertaining draw in Gozo.
Switzerland substitute Boris Babic scored eight minutes from time to cancel out Benjamin Henrichs's opener, though the Swiss still required a penalty save by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, after Remo Arnold's dismissal, to secure an opening-day point.
Germany settled the quicker of the teams and, after Oguzhan Aydogan's snapshot from the edge of the area had flashed just past the base of the left upright, they spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead. Max Besuschkow somehow skewed the ball over the bar despite Arianit Ferati's precise cross laying the chance on a plate for the unmarked forward, just three metres out and with the goal gaping.
Having been spared falling behind, Switzerland controlled the action until the break. They were only denied a half-time advantage by Germany keeper Timo Königsmann, who spread himself well to block from Albian Ajeti when the attacker was clean through.
Germany regained their footing after the interval, and broke the deadlock following a series of half-chances. Finn Porath pounced on a misplaced pass and fed Besuschkow, who instantly turned the ball into the space to his right, where it was met by a cool finish from the surging Henrichs.
With eight minutes remaining, Babic pulled the Swiss level against the run of play, staying calm to rifle into an unguarded goal after a wayward defensive clearance was fired straight into his path.
Not that Switzerland's hard work was complete. Having been adjudged to have tripped Finn Porath, Arnold was dismissed but Switzerland were spared further punisment as their goalkeeper dived low to his right to frustrate Arianit Ferati from the penalty spot.