Fri, Aug 12, 2011 - Page 19 News List

US draw Klinsmann’s first game as boss

AFP, PHILADELPHIA

Laglais Xavier Kouassi of Ivory Coast takes a tumble during their friendly against Israel in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Jurgen Klinsmann’s first match as coach of the US ended in a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Wednesday.

The German all-time great was saved from defeat after Robbie Rogers scored a second-half equalizer, hitting home in the 73rd minute.

The fans at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia had seen Oribe Peralta put Mexico ahead in the 17th minute.

The result was an improvement on the US’ previous match against Mexico in June, when the team blew a two-goal lead to lose the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl in California.

The match on Wednesday came less than two weeks after Klinsmann was hired and the new coach had only held three training sessions before his debut.

Fans are hoping Klinsmann can shake up the team after a string of lackluster results.

IVORY COAST 4, ISRAEL 3

REUTERS, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

A Didier Drogba penalty ensured Ivory Coast beat Israel 4-3 in an entertaining friendly in Switzerland on Wednesday and moved the striker within two goals of a landmark 50 for his country.

Ivory Coast raced into a 3-0 lead after 68 minutes, but Israel fought back to 3-2, before Drogba struck from the spot seven minutes from time after being fouled to clinch the win.

Maor Melicksen added his second to make it 4-3 late on.

Israel were warming up for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Group F leaders Greece and Croatia next month, but the encounter was a fairly tepid affair until the stroke of halftime.

The crowd were getting ready for refreshments when Ivory Coast opened the scoring through Yaya Toure, who blasted a low shot into the net from 18m in the 45th minute.

Didier Ya Konan added a second goal for Ivory Coast four minutes into first-half stoppage-time with a powerful strike from the right that left Israel goalkeeper Dudu Aouate helpless.

The powerful Ivory Coast side increased their lead in the 67th minute through substitute Moussa Kone, who picked up the ball in the area and flicked it over the defense and Aouate.

Israel came to life in the last 15 minutes when striker Itay Shechter put them on the scoreboard after intercepting the ball in the Ivory Coast defense and breaking free to find the net.

Melickson further cut the arrears in the 79th minute after another defensive lapse, but Drogba restored the African side’s two-goal lead a minute later with his 48th goal in 73 internationals.

Melickson wrapped up the scoring in the 87th minute with a penalty, but the defeat and poor defending leaves Israel coach Luis Fernandez looking for the right formula before they face Greece in Tel Aviv on Sept. 2 and visit Croatia four days later.

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