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Sports

Nuremberg score yet another draw

Nuremberg could only get a 1-1 draw at home to Mainz on Friday night. Nilsson's early header was cancelled out by a brilliant finish from Okazaki in the second half. It was the Franconians' ninth stalemate of the season.

In the Bundesliga on Friday night, Nuremberg failed to snag their first win of the season - in 15 attempts - despite leading Mainz until the last quarter of the game.

Nuremberg belied their 17th place in the table, marauding energetically along their hosts' right flank from the kick-off, forcing a cluster of early corners and free-kicks, one of which led to the opening goal before Mainz had had time to gather their thoughts.

Nuremberg struck in the fifth minute, after some aggressive running from Nuremberg's Japanese midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake forced a corner and then a free-kick. After a close-range cross from the left, Per Nilsson rose to nod a powerful header down. There followed a minor goal line farce as Mainz's defender Zdenek Pospech, attempting to block, managed only to bamboozle his goalkeeper Loris Karius, whose desperate effort to scramble it out failed.

At the other end, Thomas Tuchel's side created chances of their own; Shinji Okazaki forced a sharp save from Raphael Schäfer in the 23rd minute.

Fußball Bundesliga 1. FC Nürnberg gegen FSV Mainz 05

Müller might have turned the game for Mainz late on

But the early goal gave Nuremberg visible confidence, with Timothy Chandler causing a number of problems on the right - one particularly vicious cross from the US defender nearly forced an own goal from Pospech.

Mainz raise their game

Mainz came out much stronger in the second half, but it was Nuremberg who consistently looked more likely to score.

But while they sent in corner after corner, invariably aimed at Nilsson's head, they could not capitalize. Then in the 75th minute, Joo-Ho Park sent a long ball from the halfway line straight into the gap between Nilsson and Emanuel Pogatetz, where Okazaki darted through and capped his smart run with an exquisite finish at pace, reversing the ball back across Raphael Schäfer and into the far corner.

After that blow, Nuremberg's confidence gave out, and in the dying minutes Mainz suddenly looked much more likely to snatch the winner. Schäfer had to block a one-on-one with Eric Choupo-Moting and later Nicolai Müller came close to putting away a cross.

Only when Mainz's Petar Sliskovic was sent off - while being stretchered off - in injury time for a lunatic kung fu tackle on the Nuremberg goalkeeper did Mainz's attack lose its momentum, and the game petered out. Schäfer, still fuming over the challenge, remonstrated with the opposition bench after the final whistle.

The result leaves Nuremberg on nine points - thanks to their league-high nine draws - while Mainz at least temporarily inched above Hertha Berlin into seventh place in the Bundesliga.

Second meet third and fourth play fifth in two of the high profile Bundesliga matches over the weekend; Borussia Dortmund entertain Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke visit Borussia Mönchengladbach.