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SATURDAY, 19 APR 2014
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Medal favorite Spain eliminated
Spain’s Juan Mata reacts after missing a chance to score.
Spain’s Juan Mata reacts after missing a chance to score.
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NEWCASTLE, England: Gold-medal favorite Spain were eliminated from men’s Olympic football Sunday in another 1-0 upset loss after Honduras forward Jerry Bengtson scored an early goal. Three players combined for Bengtson’s third of the tournament during a break down the left in the seventh minute. Bengtson cut inside and the striker jumped over a defender to power in a header past Spain goalkeeper David de Gea.

Spain had hoped to hold three major titles at once after winning the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship. But the country will go home without a chance to compete for a medal after it plays its last match against Morocco Wednesday in Manchester. And if it doesn’t score, it will also return without a goal.

Honduras move into second place in Group D.

Ten-man Senegal caused a huge upset when they beat Uruguay 2-0 at Wembley while title favorites Brazil, inspired by the dazzling Neymar, swept into the quarterfinals after coming from behind to beat Belarus 3-1.

Japan, who stunned Spain 1-0 in their opener, also secured their place in the last eight from Group D with a 1-0 win over Morocco at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park.

Uruguay, back in the Olympics for the first time since winning their second successive soccer gold in 1928, had never previously lost an Olympic match but found no answer to first half goals from Moussa Konate even though Senegal played for 10 men for an hour after Abdoulaye Ba was sent off for hauling down Uruguay’s skipper Luis Suarez.

Senegal were worth their victory which makes a place in the last eight alongside Brazil and Japan a possibility.

Japan left it late to beat Morocco with Kensuke Nagai scoring the winner in the 84th minute when he lofted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Mohamed Amsif.

Brazil became the first side to qualify for the next stage after a come-from-behind win against Belarus thanks to Neymar, who scored and made the two other goals.

Brazil’s victory, courtesy of a header from Alexandre Pato, a 30-meter free kick from Neymar and a brilliantly-taken third by Oscar after being set up by a backheel from Neymar, meant Brazil have six points from their opening two Group C matches.

Brazilian-born Renan Bardini headed Belarus in front after eight minutes but although they lost they will go through if they beat Egypt Wednesday.

Egypt were in action in the other Group C match played earlier at Old Trafford in Manchester and wasted plenty of chances in a 1-1 draw with New Zealand which did neither team’s hopes of advancing much good.

Ryan Giggs got his goal and Britain got a 3-1 win over the United Arab Emirates to keep its Olympic title dreams going. With Prince William and David Beckham watching on, too.

The 38-year-old Giggs capped a nifty buildup with a 16th minute opener to become the oldest goalscorer at the games, which is also the Welshman’s first major tournament.

Rashed Eisa nearly spoiled the party for 82,239 fans at Wembley Stadium with an equalizer on the hour mark. But Giggs replacement Scott Sinclair scored in the 73rd before Daniel Sturridge’s perfect lob capped what turned out to be an emphatic win.

The hosts joined Senegal atop Group A with four points to eliminate the UAE.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 30, 2012, on page 14.
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