SALVADOR: Newcomers Fiji proved no match for Olympic champions Mexico in Salvador but they handed El Tri a scare before succumbing 5-1. Erick Gutierrez scored four of the goals.
Unlike in their opening eight-goal battering by Korea Republic, Fiji showed a desire to attack and were rewarded after 10 minutes with skipper Roy Krishna opening the scoring with a header to a long ball from Iosefo Verevou with keeper Alfredo Talavera stranded on the edge of his penalty area.
The second half was a different picture. Mexico needed obly three minutes to equalise through Gutierrez from close range from Marco Bueno’s cut-back.
Gutierrez then grabbed two more quickfire goals. His second followed neat interplassing from Jose Abella and Oribe Peralta. The Pachuca man completed his hat-trick while falling in converting an assist from Carlos Cisneros.
Carlos Salceco made it 4-1 after a corner kick before Gutierrez matched Oghenekaro Etebo’s feat of scoring four goals in one match at the tournament.
The second match in the Arena Fonte Nova proved a thriller all the way to the final whistle as Germany drew 3-3 with South Korea.
Goals from Hwang Heechan, Son Heungmin and Suk Hyunjun were only enough to earn Korea Republic a point, as Davie Selke and a Serge Gnabry brace meant Germany claimed a point of their own.
Fans at the Arena Fonte Nova had to wait until the 25th minute for the game’s opening goal, as Korea Republic took the lead after Germany were unable to clear a Kwon Changhoon corner from the right. Jung Seunghyun beat his German markers Selke and Lars Bender to the set-piece, with the ball falling kindly to Hwang Heechan, to finish from a tight angle.
Korea’s lead did not last long, however, as Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry levelled with a superb right-footed finish past goalkeeper Kim Dongjun on 33 minutes after taking a pass from Julian Brandt on the left side of the Korea Republic penalty box.
The Germans ended the half the stronger with Brandt stinging the hands of Kim Dongjun with a close-range volley before Lukas Klostermann struck the side-net.
There was little to separate these two sides, as witnessed by another exchange of goals shortly after the break. Germany got their noses in front in the 55th minute when Davie Selke took a pass from captain Max Meyer before bursting through the Korea Republic backline to finish past Kim Dongjun for 2-1.
The Asian side’s response came two minutes later. A fine run into the Germany penalty box by Son Heungmin saw the Tottenham Hotspur man slip in a neat finish under German goalkeeper Timo Horn to make it 2-2.
Korea then created the best opportunities after that but Horn proved equal to second-half efforts from Son and Hwang. Yet, the Taeguk Warriors would find the net again in the 86th minute after Suk Hyunjun struck home Lee Seulchan’s end-line cross for a 3-2 Korea Republic lead.
Deservely the Germans then earned a point in injury time. Gnabry’s free-kick strike took a deflection off the Korean wall before finding the back of the net for a 3-3 final score.
The result sees Korea Republic draw level with Mexico on four points at the top of Group C after two games played. Germany sit third in the group after drawing their opening two matches with two points.
On Wednesday, Germany play eliminated Fiji in Belo Horizonte while Korea Republic face a decisive clash versus Mexico in Brasilia.