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Football at the Olympics

Football at Tokyo Olympics: France, Spain secure wins

Published at :July 26, 2021 at 4:20 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Tokyo Olympics)

Sudesh Baniya

Ivory Coast held Brazil to a goalless draw as Argentina secured their maiden win after a disappointing tournament opener.

Men's football at the Tokyo Olympics delivered yet another exciting matchday full of close results, sending-offs and incredible individual performances. France, Japan, Honduras, and Germany escaped with tight margins, while Spain and Argentina got their first wins of the tournament.

Here are excerpts from an eventful day, brought to you by Khel Now:

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Captain Gignac shines as France pull off close win

Tokyo Olympics Football
Gignac scored thrice for France on Sunday

After a lackluster display in their tournament opener against Mexico, France edged past South Africa with a 4-3 scoreline. Led by Andre-Pierre Gignac's hat-trick, Les Bleus pulled off a last-minute winner after trailing thrice in the match.

France conceded a penalty just before the half hour mark, exposing their lack of composure in defence like the previous game. However, Luther Singh's penalty went flying above the crossbar, as the first half ended 0-0. However, things took turns in the second half, as Gignac equalized on all three occasions, before assisting Teji Savanier for the winner in the last minute of stoppage time. Teboho Mokoena's stunning strike went in vain, as Bafana Bafana fell to their second defeat of the group stages.

Argentina and Spain pull of one-goal victories in Group C

Argentina and Spain, expected to be two of the sides to be on the podium, under-performed in their respective opening fixtures. The Albicelestes suffered a 2-0 defeat against Australia, as Spain were held to a 0-0 draw by Egypt.

However, both sides pulled off narrow, yet confidence-boosting victories in today's fixtures. Against a stubborn Egyptian defence, Facundo Media's rebound off Alexis MacAllister's delivery in the 52nd minute acted as the decider. Argentina's failure to convert chances, including Adolfo Gaich's stunning effort that hit the woodwork within five minutes, did not come to haunt back. Egypt, trying to defend in numbers, were not particularly active going forward and maintained compactness in defence rather than transitioning quickly. As a result, Argentina had the upper hand and thus, came out victorious.

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Spain, against a superior defensive performance from the Aussies, came out on top with an 81-minute goal. Following Marco Asensio's delivery from the right side, Mikel Oyarzabal headed in the decisive goal. The match was similar to Argentina-Egypt in many ways, as the Socceroos too looked to defend deep and let Spain have the ball. As a result, with no shots on target and no significant threats, Australia failed to repeat the heroics that they displayed against Argentina.

Ivory Coast hold Brazil to goalless draw

Brazil's quest to a second consecutive victory took a hit, as Ivory Coast held the defending champions to a goalless draw. After Douglas Luis was sent off in the 13th minute, the Selecao spent the first half resisting the opposition's continuous attacking threats. Despite being the much superior sides in the first half, the Ivory Coast could not get anything on the plate.

However, Brazil looked more potent and came out as a better side in the second half. Things evened out as Eboue Kouassi got sent off for an opposition last-man foul, denying what seemed to be Brazil's best chance to score. In a game played by both sides to not concede than to score, things always swung in the middle.

Lee Kang-in cameo helps South Korea secure convincing win

Lee Kang-in scored twice for South Korea on Sunday

Valencia starlet Lee Kang-in scored a quickfire brace as South Korea thumped Romania 4-0 for their second consecutive victory in Tokyo Olympics men's football. After coming on in the 79th minute, the 20-year-old scored in the 84th and the 90th minute, including a penalty.

Making their first appearance since 1964, Romania started their second game in the unlikeliest of outcomes, with an own-goal. Marius Marin's clearance resulted in an own-goal, followed by Ion Gheorghe's double-yellow sending off just before the end of the first half. Eom Won-sang's strike in the 59th minute doubled the lead for the Asian side, as they cruised for an easy win.


Germany escape Saudi Arabia with narrow win

Germany, after succumbing against Brazil, got back to winning ways with a narrow win against Saudi Arabia. Nadiem Amiri and Ragnar Ache's goals in the first half was cancelled out by Sami Al-Najei's brace as Saudi held on to a 2-2 draw going into the last period of the second half.

Despite conceding a red card in 67th minute, German centre-back Felix Uduokhai scored in the 75th minute for the winner. Amos Pieper's sending off did not bother Germany much, and Stefan Kuntz's side held on to their first win of the tournament.

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