Wednesday 17 January 2018

Football: Favourites Brazil off to a winning start as Oscar the star

Andrew Gwilym

BRAZIL coach Mano Menezes praised the performance of new Chelsea signing Oscar after the midfielder played a starring role in their 3-2 win over Egypt at the Millennium Stadium.

Menezes' side had been tipped as one of the favourites to win gold prior to the tournament and they showed their class as goals from Rafael, Leandro Damiao and Neymar gave them a 3-0 half-time lead.

Egypt pulled two goals back through captain Mohamed Aboutrika and substitute Mohamed Salah but it was not enough to turn around the Group C encounter.

Oscar created Brazil's first two goals and was a threatening attacking presence on the ball throughout, leaving Menezes delighted by his display.

He said: "It is clear that Oscar is a very influential player. He set up a lot of moves and chances for us and I don't want to publicise it too much as our opposition will know about him.

"We need to share the responsibility of creating chances but I was very happy with his performance tonight."

While Brazil started with a win fellow favourites Spain, who included Euro 2012 winners Juan Mata and Jordi Alba in their side, were on the wrong end of a shock at Hampden Park as Yuki Otsu's goal gave Japan a 1-0 victory in Group D.

Spain's cause was not helped by the dismissal of Inigo Martinez five minutes before the break, and they could not find an equaliser in the second half.

Elsewhere in Group D Honduras and Morocco played out a 2-2 draw, while Belarus saw off New Zealand 1-0 in Brazil's group.

In Group B Gabon secured their first Olympic point as Pierre Aubameyang's strike earned them a 1-1 draw with 10-man Switzerland, while Mexico were held to a goalless draw against South Korea at St James' Park.

Uruguay came from behind to beat the UAE 2-1 in their Group A opener at Old Trafford, with Great Britain and Senegal drawing 1-1 in the late game in Manchester.

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