Nuremberg - Hiroshi Kiyotake salvaged a 2-2 draw for 1. FC Nürnberg at the end of a dramatic, end-to-end encounter with Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Josip Drmic gave the home side the lead, but the game was turned on its head by an own goal from Berkay Dabanli and a Ronny penalty. Nürnberg's Japanese midfielder had the final say, though, thumping home a stunning free-kick to level matters.
After a tight start in which Berlin, buoyed by their big win last weekend, appeared the more confident of the two sides, the chances slowly started to come. Änis Ben-Hatira had the first of many when he sent Adrian Ramos’ cross right back from whence it came rather than towards goal.
Nürnberg then asserted themselves on the game and almost took the lead when Daniel Ginczek’s header from Kiyotake’s free-kick struck the outside of the right-hand post with Thomas Kraft happy to see the ball rebound away to safety. Javier Pinola tried his luck from long range and Robert Mak’s shot from the edge of the area lacked power and direction, but Nürnberg at least appeared to be heading in the right direction.
Stand-in centre-half Markus Feulner ensured they did not lose this momentum when he made a fine last-ditch tackle to take the ball away from the lurking Ben-Hatira, before the Hertha striker finally fired off a shot on goal, only for Raphael Schäfer to diffuse the danger from a tight angle.
The hosts took the lead shortly before half time when Drmic was put through on goal, and he needed just the one touch to slide the ball to the left of Kraft and into the net. Ben-Hatira continued to lead Hertha’s efforts up front and his pull-back set up Peter Pekarik, whose shot was blocked, before another cross from the creative Germany under-21 international was headed just inches wide by Ramos.
Feulner once again defied his inexperience as a defender by getting in a decisive lunge on Fabian Lustenberger’s shot, deflecting the ball over the crossbar, but an unfortunate and unwitting deflection got the Old Lady back in the game on the hour mark. Sami Allagui’s mishit shot was heading wide of the far post until it struck the chest of Dabanli and beat a wrong-footed Schäfer.
Hertha were in the ascendency as Allagui put Alexander Baumjohann through with Schäfer saving with his foot, before Baumjohann earned his side a penalty, expertly dispatched by substitute Ronny. Michael Wiesinger’s men regrouped, though, and were rewarded when Kiyotake stepped up to send an unstoppable free-kick into the far corner of Kraft’s goal and clinch a dramatic point for der Club late on.
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