Gundogan booed by own fans as Germany beat Saudi Arabia

By Daily Sports on June 9, 2018

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Ilkay Gundogan was booed by Germany fans as the team avoided a late scare to beat Saudi Arabia in their final World Cup warm-up game, in Leverkusen.

The Manchester City midfielder was jeered as he came on, and every time he touched the ball, after meeting Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May and calling him "my president".

Germany were looking comfortable at 2-0 after a goal from Timo Werner and an Omar Hawsawi own goal.

But Taiseer Al-Jassam pulled one back.

And the Saudis, who have also qualified for the World Cup, should have had an injury-time penalty when Mats Hummels pulled Mohammad Al-Sahlawi's shirt six yards from goal.

Difficult day for Gundogan

Gundogan and Mesut Ozil, who also met Turkey's president in London last month, were both criticised by the German FA at the time and booed by Germany fans during a 2-1 defeat in Austria on Saturday.

Arsenal midfielder Ozil missed the Saudi Arabia game with a slight knee problem - although he is not a doubt for the World Cup - leaving Gundogan to bear the fans' anger on his own.

Manager Joachim Low looked irritated at the reaction of the crowd as he brought on Gundogan – who is of Turkish descent – and urged them to instead cheer the player.

But the City midfielder was jeered every time he touched the ball, including when he had two close-range efforts saved moments after coming on.

"The fact that a national player is booed like that helps nobody," Low told ARD. "What should Ilkay do now?

"He took a picture, OK, but he has addressed it with the press and underlined his support for German values.

"The topic has to be ticked off."

Gundogan said earlier this week he has struggled with the reaction and he is "privileged to have grown up in Germany" despite his "strong connection to Turkey".

Germany's first win of 2018 – but only just

World champions Germany had been on their worst run of form since 1988 having failed to win any of their five friendlies in 2018 - albeit all against good sides.

They looked in control after Werner smashed the ball in off the crossbar from Marco Reus' cross.

Reus and Sami Khedira hit the post before Hawsawi bundled in Werner's cross, which Thomas Muller was trying to turn home.

But Germany lost momentum after making six changes and the Saudis won a disputed penalty when Al-Jassam went down in a challenge from Khedira.

Al-Sahlawi's effort was saved by substitute keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen but Al-Jassam smashed in the rebound.

The visitors almost extended Germany's winless run when Hummels escaped conceding a spot-kick late on.

The hosts will need to play better when they face Mexico in their World Cup opener on Sunday, 17 June. (BBC)

Photo shows Gundogan in action for Germany against Saudi Arabia

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 9, 2018

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