Russia-Germany football friendly ends in draw - German manager happy

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BERLIN, June 9 (RIA Novosti's Taras Lariokhin). Jurgen Klinsmann, the manager of the German national football team, is happy about yesterday's Russia-Germany friendly draw 2:2 in German Moenchengladbach, he told reporters after the match.

"The way we played was rather good," he said, "However, we still lacked coherence and concentration during crucial moments."

Klinsmann, a former leading German striker, is optimistic about the future.

"Each game is a step forward. Such matches are very instructive," he is quoted by German media. Germany will host the 2006 World Football Championship. Therefore, it does not have to qualify and can concentrate on testing players and various game models.

Russia took the lead in the 26th minute on a goal by Alexander Anyukov assisted by Dmitry Sychev and Sergei Semak, former captain of UEFA Cup winners CSKA, now a Paris St. Germain player, who had substituted for injured midfielder Marat Izmailov 10 minutes into the first half. After a through ball by Yevgeny Aldonin, Anyukov netted through Oliver Kahn's legs.

However, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, the man of the match for Germany, scored his first two goals for his team past Russian keeper Sergei Ovchinnikov in the 31st and 69th minutes to put the World Cup runners-up in control. In the first one, he finished off a move with a low shot to the right corner; in the second, Schweinsteiger faked two Russians on the edge of the area and slotted home a right-foot shot.

Germany should have scored again but German captain Michael Ballack's shot from three meters was punched over by Ovchinnikov's reflex save.

The home side seemed firmly in control of the game when Andrei Arshavin broke through on the right, cut across the goal and rounded Kahn to tap the ball home in the last minute, saving Russian manager Yuri Syomin from having his first international game spoilt by defeat.

Russians' rivals in Group Three played competitive games yesterday: it took Portugal a real effort to beat Estonia (1:0), while the Slovaks had no trouble at all with Luxembourg (4:0). The frontrunners, Portugal and Slovakia, have 20 and 17 points, respectively, while Russians have 14 points but one additional match.

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