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Olympics 2008: Argentina rip Brazil apart to storm into men's final

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Olympics 2008: Argentina rip Brazil apart to storm into men's final

Post  Admin on Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:21 pm

BEIJING (AFP) - Two quickfire goals from Sergio Aguero spurred defending champions Argentina into the Olympic final as they put the sword to South American rivals Brazil in a 3-0 win at the Workers' Stadium on Tuesday.

Argentina will face a repeat of their 1996 Atlanta final against Nigeria in Saturday's gold medal match at the National Stadium on Saturday.Nigeria, who defeated Argentina 3-2 in Atlanta, qualified for the Beijing decider after hammering Belgium 4-1 in the earlier semi-final played in Shanghai.

It was a wretched night for Brazil, who fell apart and finished with nine men after Liverpool midfielder Lucas and substitute Thiago Neves were both sent off for ugly fouls on Argentina's Javier Mascherano inside the final 10 minutes."I was really happy with Aguero today. He scored two goals and he played fantastic," Argentina coach Sergio Batista said."This team has committed themselves to each match at the Olympics to try and win the gold medal."This is what they will continue to do against Nigeria in the final. Nigeria is a really strong team, we want to savour this win over Brazil first."

Atletico Madrid's Aguero broke the deadlock seven minutes after the interval when Angel Di Maria's pass appeared to strike his upper arm and flew into the net.Aguero scored his second goal five minutes later after irrepressible Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi released defender Pablo Zabaleta on the right and his pass was slotted home from close range with the Brazilian defence in a shambles.

Skipper and over-age midfielder Juan Riquelme killed off the Brazilians with a 76th minute penalty after Aguero was brought down by Bayern Munich defender Breno.

It went from bad to worse for Brazil with Lucas and Thiago Neves both losing their composure and given straight red cards for chopping down Mascherano inside the last nine minutes.

"Of course, this will put more pressure and there will be some doubts about me as the coach and the team, but I have faith in my work and in my players," under-fire Brazilian coach Dunga said.

"We will evaluate this defeat and look into the problem areas and we will study everything. This is what happens in football, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the most important thing is we have to put our heart into it."

Brazil's hopes evaporated when crowd favourite Ronaldinho's free kick slammed into the upright and a follow-up goal was disallowed for offside just after Aguero's second goal.

Yet again Brazil, five-time World Cup champions, leave the Olympics without a gold medal and pressure is expected to build on Dunga, who has now lost five games out of 36 games at the helm of Selecao, considered unacceptable for Brazil's high expectations.

Argentina, brimming with young talent, ripped their great rivals apart in the second half to ensure they will have a chance to defend the Olympic title they won against South Americans Paraguay in Athens four years ago.

It was cat and mouse early as both South American adversaries gave no quarter in fierce close-marking exchanges, especially on opposing game-breakers Messi and Ronaldinho with Argentine great Maradona watching on from the stands.

Argentina had the better chances, mainly when Messi was involved, nipping into tackles and showcasing his electrifying sharp acceleration.

Messi's fellow striker partner Aguero fired a sizzler just wide into the side-netting in the 12th minute and Messi almost put Aguero in but his pass went behind him after 33 minutes.

The Barcelona dynamo almost broke the deadlock near halftime when he shook off two tackles and wriggled into a scoring position only for his shot to be deflected away by Brazilian goalkeeper Renan.

Uruguayan referee Martin Vazquez was kept busy issuing a not only the two reds but also a total of seven yellow cards, four to Brazil -- Breno, Hernanes, Anderson and Rafinha -- and three for Argentina -- Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Pareja and Angel Di Maria.;_ylt=As5e_3Lu7q7nxxv_UruEzcULMxIF


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