Germany, Ghana play to 2-2 draw after wild stretch, leave Group G open
FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) - Ghana held Germany to a 2-2 draw on Saturday despite veteran striker Miroslav Klose coming on as a substitute to tie the World Cup scoring record with the equalizer in their highly entertaining Group G match. Klose now has 15 career World Cup goals, equaling the mark set by former Brazil star Ronaldo.
Klose scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, less than two minutes after coming on, when a corner by Toni Kroos was flicked to the far post by Benedikt Hoewedes and the striker slid in to knock the ball into the roof of the net. The result means the United States would advance from the group if it beats Portugal on Sunday.
Mario Gotze had put Germany ahead in the 51st, but Ghana equalized three minutes later through Andre Ayew. Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan then put the Africans ahead in the 63rd, only to see Klose cancel out his goal. The 36-year-old Klose is in his fourth World Cup and had been level with former Germany striker Gerd Muller on 14 goals. Ronaldo also scored his 15th against Ghana, in 2006 in Germany.
With coach Joachim Low preferring to play with a ''false No. 9'' system without a striker, Klose sat out Germany's opening 4-0 rout of Portugal. But with Ghana threatening to put a damper on Germany's hope of winning the group, Low turned to his veteran, who provided again. The draw continued Germany's habit of struggling in second matches in a tournament and left it with four points from two matches.
The result revived Ghana's hopes of progressing after its opening 2-1 loss to the United States. Ghana has one point. Ghana gave the favored Germans a real contest in a pulsating match in the sweltering heat and humidity of Arena Castelao. But it was Germany that took the lead. In the 51st, Thomas Muller sent a dipping cross toward Gotze, who attempted a header but the ball bounced off his left knee into the net.
Germany's lead lasted only three minutes. Ayew rose between Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi to head the equalizer inside the far post from a cross from Harrison Affu. With the non-German side of crowd loudly behind the Ghana team, the African side kept putting pressure on the favored Germans. Gyan beat an offside trap by Mats Hummels and Mertesacker in the 63rd, ran into space and fired the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into the far corner to raise Ghana's hopes of an upset, until Klose's equalizer.
In between the first two goals, a fan ran onto the pitch waving his shirt. He did not threaten any players but shook hands with Ghana's Sully Muntari, who escorted him off the field before he was picked up by a security official. Ushers then moved to block stairwells leading to the pitch.
Here is how the heart-stopping contest played out:
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