• Saturday Aug 11, 2012

    Mexico - Olympic Champion

    LONDON - Mexico beat Brazil 2-1 to win the Olympic gold medal on Saturday, getting a goal in each half from Oribe Peralta and holding off the five-time World Cup champion for the title.

    Peralta capitalized on a Brazilian gaffe inside the defensive third 29 seconds after the opening kickoff and added a second on a header in the 75th.

    Hulk pulled Brazil within a goal only seconds into injury time, but Mexico withstood a late chance by Brazil to prevail.

    It was Mexico's first medal in Olympic soccer, easily eclipsing their fourth-place finish in 1968 when the country hosted the Summer Games.

    The result also denied Brazil its first Olympic crown, forcing it to settle for a third silver medal to go along with two bronze.

    Mexico pressed high from the opening kickoff and went ahead when Marco Fabian's marking of Rafael forced the Brazilian defender to attempt an ill-advised short square ball to Sandro. Javier Aquino anticipated the pass, poked it toward the Brazilian goal, where Peralta took a touch and drove a low right-footed shot inside the near post.

    Playing without the injured Giovani Dos Santos, El Tri effectively negated Brazilian forward Neymar, limiting him to a lone shot for the first half. But the insertion of Hulk for Alex Sandro in the 32nd minute enabled Brazil to generate more offense.

    Hulk made an almost immediate impact, hitting a shot from distance that goalkeeper Jesus Corona had to dive to knock around the left post in the 38th.

    By the start of the second half, Brazil pressed Mexico into its own end, getting five chances in 15 minutes. But as Brazil committed more numbers forward, Mexico was able to counter, and had Fabian put an overhead scissors kick off the crossbar in the 64th.

    Peralta had a goal voided for offside in the 69th before adding Mexico's insurance. He made a curling run into the middle of the penalty area to get an unmarked header to Fabian's free kick, and bounced the ball past keeper Gabriel.

    It was Peralta's fourth goal of the Olympics and gave Mexico a fifth straight win after opening with a 0-0 draw against South Korea.

    Hulk gave Brazil hope in injury time, running onto a long ball out of the back from Marcelo and sending a low shot from just outside the six past a sprawled Corona.

    Brazil then pressed forward for an equalizer and had an opportunity when an unmarked Oscar at the right post flicked a header over the bar with only 20 seconds remaining in injury time.

    The loss was the first for Brazil after it had won all five previous matches in the Olympics.

    The victory made CONCACAF the first confederation to win both soccer gold medals at the Olympics, with the United States beating Japan on Thursday for the women's title. It also gave CONCACAF three medals with Canda having beat France for the women's bronze.

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