Monday, July 30, 2012

Brazil and Mexico win in Olympic soccer

By: sfgate


CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Neymar inspired Brazil to a 3-1 victory over Belarus on Sunday to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympic men's football competition, while Mexico got its campaign back on track by beating Gabon 2-0.

In Sunday's other early match, Egypt played a to 1-1 draw against New Zealand in Group C, a result that means both sides must win their final game to stand a chance of progressing.

Brazil, seeking its first Olympic gold, went behind on eight minutes, but Alexandre Pato tied it up with a header in the 15th after a cross by Neymar. The Brazilian star scored with a right-footed shot in the 65th minute and then set up the final goal for recently signed Chelsea playmaker Oscar in injury time.

"I'm so glad that we won the game," said Neymar. "We played very well in the second half and now we are another step closer. It was very hard for us against a good Belarus team."

The victory in front of 66,000 people at Manchester's Old Trafford Stadium gives Brazil six points in Group C, three more than Belarus.

Mexican substitute Giovani Dos Santos scored twice in the second half to give the South Americans their victory in Coventry. Mexico, also considered a title contender, was held to a scoreless draw by South Korean in its opening game. The win puts Mexico top of Group B with four points, while Gabon has one. The top two teams in each of the four groups advance.

New Zealand forward Chris Wood opened the scoring from just in front of the goal on the 17th minute, and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah equalized following a counterattack in the 40th. Both teams had great chances at the end but couldn't capitalize on them.

"It was an excellent game for the supporters to watch," New Zealand coach Neil Emblen said. "In the second half both teams were desperate for a win. We had chances up to the last minute."

The teams now have one point each after two rounds. New Zealand will next face Brazil and Egypt will play Belarus.

Later Sunday, Uruguay can progress if it beats Senegal. Japan will also get through if it beats Morocco.

Hosts Britain, which tied its opening game against Senegal, play the United Arab Emirates at Wembley.

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