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2-2 draw with Millonarios FC in final USA friendly

Wilfried Kanga holds off his Millonarios opponent.
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Sandro Schwarz opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation for the last friendly before next weekend’s Bundesliga restart in Bochum (21/01/23, 15:30 CET). Oliver Christensen began in goal. Ahead of the Dane was a back-four of Jonjoe Kenny, Augstín Rogel, Marc Kempf and Maximilian Mittelstädt. Lucas Tousart and Jean-Paul Boëtius were in holding midfield, with Marco Richter, captain Prince Boateng and Derry Scherhant the trio supporting lone striker Wilfried Kanga.

Early setnback – half chances for Scherhant

The Colombian opposition made the better start in the Osceola County Stadium. A deflected free-kick dropped at the feet of David Silva, who was able to beat Christensen from close range (9’). It remained the only notable chance in the opening 20 minutes or so, with the game filled instead with hard-fought midfield battles. The Old Lady soon began to offer a threat, however. A dangerous ball from Prince was chased down into the box after a heavy first touch from Scherhant, but the goalkeeper got there first (24’). Our number 39 was also involved in the next Hertha chance eight minutes later, but his acrobatic effort from a Kenny cross comfortably cleared the bar (32’). All in all, Schwarz’s side were struggling to build up play incisively to create opportunities. 15-time domestic champions Millonarios came close through Daniel Cataño on 39 minutes, who blazed his shot wide after some intricate passing. The half ended with Richter firing over from a promisingly positioned free-kick (45+3’).

The side from Bogotá demonstrated their clinical edge once again in the second half with another early goal. Luis Carlos Ruiz was the scorer, dinking the ball over the keeper from an angle (53’). The Herthaner delivered a good response this time though. A penalty was awarded after a foul on Kempf, and Kanga duly converted (56’). The Blue-Whites’ number 18 almost delivered a quickfire double, but the Millonarios goalie was able to fish his low shot out of the bottom corner only 60 seconds after the spot-kick (57’). Hertha were taking more control of the match now, pressing the Colombian outfit back inside their own half, and the pressure told. A delightful diagonal ball over the top from Prince was finished first time by Tousart to level the scores at 2-2 (69’).

Richter kept out by the post

Daniel Ruiz Rivera’s shot from a narrow angle was the only chance for Alberto Gamero’s side in the second period (72’). Meanwhile, a backheel flick from Kanga set up Tousart, but the ball was a little behind him, making it difficult to get enough power behind his strike (74’). It was Kanga himself who had the next opportunity, however, his well-struck overhead kick was too central to trouble the goalkeeper (78’). Schwarz brought on youngster Pascal Klemens for Prince for the closing stages (79’), although, much like the first half, it was Richter who produced the last piece of action. Tousart got to the byline and pulled the ball back into the centre, where the German attacker managed to drive a powerful shot towards goal, only to be denied by the woodwork (89’).

“We started the game well, but we allowed our opponents’ periods of possession to get the better of us,” bemoaned the Hertha coach, although there are positives for him to take away too: “Despite their second goal, we really put our foot on the gas in the second half and could even have completed the turnaround,” added Schwarz. Before the team returns to Berlin, there are a few more days of training at the IMG Academy, with preparations for the Bundesliga return continuing in the German capital from Tuesday.

Hertha BSC: Christensen – Kenny, Rogel, Kempf, Mittelstädt – Tousart, Boëtius, Richter, Prince (C) (Klemens 79’), Scherhant – Kanga

Goals: 0-1 Silva (9’), 0-2 Ruiz (53’), 1-2 Kanga (56’, pen.), 2-2 Tousart (69’) 

Referee: Amiel Aleman

Yellow cards: Cataño

Venue: Osceola County Stadium

Attendance: 1,540 

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2-2 draw with Millonarios FC in final USA friendly

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