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INTERNATIONAL

July 30, 2012
MEN’S OLYMPIC ROUNDUP
Revs' Bengtson stars as Honduras ousts favorites Spain

HONDURAS 1, SPAIN o
MANCHESTER -- Honduras sent shock waves throughout the Olympic men’s soccer tournament, sending gold-medal favorites Spain crashing out of the competition on Sunday night.

The Hondurans recorded a surprising 1-0 Group B triumph over Spain at St. James’ Park.

The win boosted Honduras’ record to 1-0-1 and four points, with an opportunity to clinch a quarterfinal spot against Japan in Coventry on Wednesday night. Spain fell to 0-2-0.

“We need more points,” Catrachos goalscorer Jerry Bengtson said. “It will be a difficult game again.”

Three members of this Spanish side were on the team that captured the Euro 2012 crown last month.

Spain had lost by the same score for the second time in four days, falling to Japan in Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday.

Bengtson, a recent signee of the New England Revolution (Major League Soccer), scored the lone goal of the match in the seventh minute as he was set up by and Andy Najar (D.C. United) and Roger Espinoza.

Najar played the ball to the left of the Spanish penalty area. Espinoza swung a cross into the Bengtson, who outjumped Jordi Alba, beating goalkeeper David de Gea on a header.

“It was a tense second half,” Bengtson said. “They had lots of chances and we did well to keep calm when they were threatening. It was very hard work. We played so well to beat Spain.”

Espinoza, a member of Sporting Kansas City, received a yellow card, his second in as many games, and will be forced to miss Wednesday’s game against Japan.

It was an ill-tempered and physical match, as 13 yellow cards were awarded, including seven on the Spaniards.

MEXICO 2, GABON 0

Halftime substitute Giovani dos Santos scored twice in the second half to lift Mexico to a Group B win in Coventry on Sunday.

The Mexicans, the top seeded country in the group, will play Switzerland in Cardiff, Wales for a chance to reach the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Dos Santos replaced Miguel Ponce at the start of the second half. It was the second consecutive game that dos Santos came off the bench.

He scored in the 63rd minute and added a penalty kick two minutes into injury time past goalkeeper Didier Ovono to ice the game. Oribe Peralta, who was denied on Ovono's finger tip save in the 51st minute, set up dos Santos' first goal 12 minutes later. He created space for dos Santos, who curled a shot past Ovono.

Peralta had a role in dos Santos' second goal as Gabon's Henry Ndong received a second yellow card for fouling the Mexican in the penalty area before dos Santos converted.

SENEGAL 2, URUGUAY 0

Despite playing an hour with 10 men, Senegal stunned Uruguay 2-0 in a Group A match Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

Moussa Konate secured a first-half brace and that's all the first-time Olympic soccer participants needed, although the road to victory was made much more difficult when Abdoulaye Ba was red carded in the 30th minute.

The win boosted Senegal (four points) to a 1-0-1 mark while the Uruguayans (three) fell to 1-1-0.

"We are just trying to give our best on the pitch and see what happens," Senegal captain Mohamed Diame said. "We know we are not one of the favorites, but we will see how far we can go."

Konate gave his team all the scoring it needed in the 10th minute when he slotted home a rebound of a Cheikhou Kouyate's shot that was saved by goalkeeper Martin Campana.

Uruguay came close to scoring as Gaston Ramirez fired a free kick off one of the posts.

Ba was given his marching orders, a straight red card, for a hard tackle on Luis Suarez in the 30th minute.

Instead of folding, the Africans doubled their advantage in the 37th minute as Konate headed in another corner kick for his third goal of the tournament.

BRAZIL 3, BELARUS 1

Neymar continued to put his stamp on the Olympic tournament, scoring off a brilliant free kick and creating two goals to boost Brazil (2-0-0, six points) into the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Belarus Sunday at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Belarus (three) fell to 1-1-0.

Coach Mano Menezes, who is under pressure to bring home the first soccer gold medal to Brazil, received congratulatory phone calls from some high-profile people for the win -- Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin and ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"This message has been passed to the players," Menezes said. "Brazil has made an important step at these Olympics.

"We are very pleased to have already qualified before the end of the group stages," he said. "This will make all Brazilian supporters happy."

It took a Brazilian-born member of Belarus to put the Eastern European team into the lead in the eighth minute as Renan Bardini Bressan headed in a goal in the Group C encounter.

But Brazil, in general, and Neymar, in particular took over. First, he set up Alexandre Pato, who fired a drive into the net for a 1-1 tie in the 14thminute.

Neymar then took matters into his own hands, curling a fabulous 30-yard free kick over the defensive wall and into the top left-hand corner of the net.

He then set up Oscar in the final minutes of stoppage time.

JAPAN 1, MOROCCO 0

Japan booked a spot in the Olympic quarterfinals with their second consecutive 1-0 result as Kensuke Nagai found the back of the net in the 84th minute against Morocco in Sunday’s Group D match at St. James' Park in Newcastle.

Japan (six points), who stunned gold-medal favorites Spain in their opener on Thursday, broke the deadlock with only minutes to spare as Nagai chipped the ball, one bounce, over onrushing keeper Mohamed Amsif.

Japanese goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda was credited with three superb saves on Morocco (0-1-1, one).

SOUTH KOREA 2, SWITZERLAND 1

Kim Bokyung, who will play for Cardiff City in England's second tier, broke a 1-1 tie to lift Korea over Switzerland in a Group B match Sunday in Coventry.

Park Chuyoung lifted the Koreans, scoring on a header in the 57th minute off a cross, but the Swiss equalized only three minutes later on Innoncent Emeghara's goal, which was set up by Ricardo Rodriguez.

GREAT BRITAIN 3, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 1

A pair of Great Britain substitutes broke a 1-1 deadlock by scoring twice within a three-minute span to eliminate the UAE from the Olympic tournament by a 3-1 score Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

The hosts need only a tie in their final Group A match with Uruguay on Wednesday to reach the knockout round.

Ryan Giggs lifted the British into the lead in the 16th minute, becoming the oldest player -- he's 37 -- to score in the Olympic soccer tournament, breaking Egyptian Hussein Hegazi's 88-year-old record. Hegazi reportedly was 33 at the time he scored at the 1924 Summer Games.

UAE equalized in the 60th minute on Rashed Eisa's goal. But the British took over on goals by Scott Sinclair in the 73rd minute and Daniel Sturridge in the 76th.

EGYPY 1, NEW ZEALAND 1

Neither Egypt nor New Zealand helped its chances of reaching the quarterfinals with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. Both needed a win in Group C to keep their flagging hopes alive.

Chris Wood gave New Zealand (0-1-1, one) the lead in the 17th minute, heading home a Tommy Smith corner kick at the far post.

The African side, however, equalized in the 40th minute. Mohamed Aboutrika sent in a cross that found Mohamed Salah at the far post and Salah knocked the ball home for a 1-1 tie.


   
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