SALVADOR: Olympic champions Mexico were twice pulled back and had to concede a 2-2 draw to Germany on kicking off their 2016 campaign in Salvador.
Skipper Oribe Peralta opened the scoring for the 2012 gold medallists after heading home Michael Perez’s corner on 52 minutes before Serge Gnabry levelled on 58 minutes.
Rodolfo Pizarro put El Tri back in front just four minutes later but Horst Hrubesch’s men produced another equaliser on 78 minutes when Matthias Ginter headed home a Julian Brandt corner.
Mexico thus extended their unbeaten Olympic run to eight games but the result provided encouragement for a German side weakened by injuries and the refusal of clubs to release some of Hrubesch’s preferred players.
The Mexicans started brightly in heavy rain. Hirving Lozano received the ball in space outside the area but fired over the bar before Marco Bueno’s curling shot was held by keeper Timo Horn.
The champions squandered a clear-cut opportunity on 27 minutes when skipper Peralta selflessly passed the ball to Lozano but the Pachuca man’s close-range strike was pushed away by Horn.
Germany, who won bronze at Seoul 1988, lacked a clinical edge in front of goal. Max Meyer had a tame effort easily cleared while Davie Selke raced through on goal but no-one was around to convert his low cross.
After their relentless pressure in the opening 45 minutes, El Tri opened the scoring seven minutes into the second half, with captain Peralta heading home Perez’s corner.
Hrubesch’s side had the chance to grab an immediate equaliser when Lukas Klostermann’s low cross found Gnabry but, though the Arsenal man missed his first opportunity, he made no mistake with his second. The 21-year-old pounced on Niklas Sule’s pass to beat Alfredo Talavera on 58 minutes.
Germany’s equaliser was short-lived. After Bueno’s diving header struck the bar on 61 minutes, Pizarro bundled home the rebound.
The Germans responded by raising the tempo. Gnabry hit the side net after another threatening run then Ginter converted Brandt’s corner on 78 minutes.
Fiji’s tournament debut ended in disaster as a Ryu Seungwoo hat-trick helped South Korea run away in the second-half for an 8-0 win in Salvador.
The Fijians turned in a solid first-half showing, and trailed only to Seungwoo’s goal, but it all turned sour for the Oceania side as the Koreans crashed home seven further goals, highlighted by a stunning three-goal salvo within two minutes.
Korea finally went ahead just past the hour mark as Seungwoo swept home from close range and the lead could have been doubled soon after as Moon Changjin crashed a penalty against the post.
At the other end, Fiji star forward Roy Krishna always looked a dangerous outlet on the counter-attack.
Kwon Changhoon extended the lead with a superb turn and finish, and then added another exactly a minute later with a close-range finish after profiting from a superb Seungwoo square ball.
Then, virtually from the kick-off, the impressive Seungwoo scored his second by crashing home with a fierce effort past the exposed Tamanisau.
Korea Republic’s overage headline star Son Heungmin entered the fray midway through the second half, and he too found himself on the scoresheet within a couple of minutes after converting from the penalty spot.
Substitute Suk Hyunjun added a sixth with 13 minutes remaining, and just as Fiji’s pain appeared to be complete, the Asian heavyweights added two more late on.
Hyunjun collected his second on 90 minutes, before Seungwoo completed his treble with virtually the last kick of the match.