Behringer, Germany cruise past Zimbabwe in women’s soccer opener
Melanie Behringer and Melanie Leupolz each picked up a brace as Germany comfortably moved to a 6-1 win over Zimbabwe in both sides’ Olympic opener on Wednesday at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.
Germany climbs atop Canada for the Group F lead after one match on goal differential, and Zimbabwe sits last behind Australia.
Sara Dabritz and Alexandra Popp also scored for Germany, while Kudakwashe Bhasopo scored the lone goal from Zimbabwe (who also had an own goal).
Up next for Germany is Australia on Saturday, when Zimbabwe meets Canada.
It could’ve been a much worse score line for Zimbabwe, as Germany had seemingly countless shots deflect over, go wide, or just plain hit the frame.
Zimbabwe defender Lynett Mutokuto somehow escaped punishment -- not even a foul -- when her lunging studs caught Germany’s Simone Laudehr on the ankle. Leupolz of Bayern Munich replaced Laudehr.
Germany went ahead soon after, as Dabritz rose high to head Dzsenifer Marozsán’s corner kick toward the back post. Her sixth international goal gave the favorites a 1-0 edge in the 23rd minute.
Anja Mittag missed the frame with the 11th German attempt of the match, as the chances were 11-0 just over a half hour into the proceedings.
Popp made it 2-0 in the 36th minute, taking advantage of a moment’s hesitance from Zimbabwe keeper Lindiwe Magwede to power Leupolz’s cross home with a header.
Rutendo Makore’s quick move from the left ended with a shot that surprised German ‘keeper Almuth Schult, and Bhasopo was on the doorstep to slot home the rebound.
Behringer had been knocking on the door all night, and finally found her goal with a gorgeous free kick to restore the 2-goal cushion.
Her second goal was indicative of Germany’s match, as Berhinger saw her penalty kick saved only to push the rebound underneath the off-balance Magwede. Popp flicked on for Leupolz to score Germany’s fifth goal moments later.