Saturday 18 November 2017

What you missed last night at Rio 2016 - More heartache for Irish boxers while new wonderkid shines for Brazil footballers

Gabriel Barbosa of Brazil celebrates his goal with Neymar
Gabriel Barbosa of Brazil celebrates his goal with Neymar

It's going from bad to worse for the Irish boxing team as Joe Ward became the latest to bow out in Rio. Michael Phelps is storming towards history and check out Brazil's new football star.

1. Rio dreams derailed as Ward pays the penalty

Ireland's boxing woes at the Rio Olympics took a disturbing turn for the worse in the Riocentro last night with the shock exit of medal contender light heavyweight Joe Ward in the preliminary round.

On his Olympic debut, the 22-year-old Moate southpaw failed utterly to justify his fourth seeding when he crashed out against an unheralded Ecuadorian Carlos Mina. Ward was controversially docked two points by the referee, presumably for holding, which cost him the fight.

So after five days of competition Ireland has lost three of their primary medal contenders, Ward, Paddy Barnes and Michael O'Reilly, who was sent home in disgrace after failing a dope test.

This is now a full blown crisis for the squad and as the losses accumulate - David Oliver Joyce exited the tournament on Wednesday night - there is a sense of powerlessness about how the situation can be turned around.

But even though Ward has two world championship and two European gold medals in his trophy cabinet, Mina achieved something which the Irishman had failed to do. The Ecuadoran beat Cuban world number one Julio La Cruz in the APB series - albeit on a controversial split decision.

Joe Ward of Ireland following his Light-Heavyweight preliminary round of 16 bout with Carlos Andres Mina of Ecuador

2. One arrested after bullet found at the Olympic Equestrian Centre

In a further development, Andrada revealed that a volunteer found a bullet in stables at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro on Wednesday morning.

"Police went to the nearby community to find the person who shot the bullet and he was arrested," said Andrada. "The bullet arrived at low energy."

Andrada said General Luiz Ramos, in a press conference held in Deodoro on Wednesday evening, had given assurances about safety and announced new measures to be implemented by the security forces, including a military car escort for buses travelling between the Deodoro zone and the main transport mall in the Olympic Park.

3. Brazil edge one step closer to first football gold

Brazil escaped a humiliating early exit from the Olympics despite another scoreless performance from Neymar as wonder kid Gabriel Barbosa struck twice in a 4-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday.

The in demand Barbosa, nicknamed 'Gabigol' for his prolific exploits for Santos, broke Brazil's 200-minute goal drought after goalless draws with Iraq and South Africa to get their quest for a first footballgold medal back on track.

Manchester City's new recruit Gabriel Jesus then volleyed home a second before Luan and Barbosa's second rounded off a comforting night for a relieved home nation.

Victory was also enough to guarantee top spot in Group A to set up a quarter-final meeting with Colombia on Saturday.

Denmark also progressed to the last eight where they will face Nigeria as the other game in the group between Iraq and South Africa finished 1-1.

Brazil are now unbeaten in 14 games in Salvador and they received a warmer welcome on and off the pitch in the north-east than for their previous two games in Brasilia with temperatures nearing 30 degrees warming an enthusiastic crowd.

OLYMPICS Fo_48.jpg
Brazil's Gabriel Barbosa, center, celebrates with teammates Brazil's Neymar, center left, and Brazil's Marquinhos, right after scoring his team's first goal during a group A match of the men' s Olympic football tournament between Brazil and Denmark in Salvador, Brazil, Wednesday Aug. 10, 2016.(AP Photo/Leo Correa)

4. Team GB men's hockey team lose 2-1 to Australia

Britain's men face a tough task to qualify for the hockey quarter-finals after losing 2-1 to Australia in their fourth Pool A match.

After a tense first half ended goalless, Australia eventually took the lead after 50 minutes when Daniel Beale's cross was turned in from close range by Aran Zalewski.

And with Britain pushing forward for an equaliser, Australia were able to double their lead on the counter-attack four minutes later, with Jacob Whetton tapping in from on the line as Glenn Turner's shot trickled towards goal.

Ashley Jackson pulled one back from a penalty corner with two minutes left to set up a frantic finish, but Australia held on to move above their opponents in the group.

That effectively leaves Britain needing a better result against Spain in their final game on Friday than New Zealand manage against Belgium later in the day.

5. USA narrowly swerve huge upset in the men's basketball

The United States survived a scare before taming scrappy Australia 98-88 in an Olympic men's basketball thriller on Wednesday and extended their winning streak to 20 games.

The U.S. team, with a lineup of NBA all-stars and most valuable players bidding for a third straight gold medal, had to dig deep to see off the 11th ranked Australians, who have never set foot on the Olympic podium

With the win, the United States remained at the top of the Group A standings with a 3-0 record. Australia dropped to 2-1.

Unbeaten since the bronze medal game of the 2004 Athens Summer Games, the United States was on the brink of a rare loss until a fourth quarter rally.

Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA in action against Cameron Bairstow (AUS)

6. Michael Phelps poised to take 22nd gold in individual medley

Michael Phelps has advanced to the final of the Olympic 200-meter individual medley as the top qualifier.

Swimming next to teammate and longtime rival Ryan Lochte, Phelps put up an effortless-looking time of 1 minute, 55.78 seconds Wednesday night to claim the prime middle lane in the final

Lochte will be right next to him again, ranking second in 1:56.28. Thiago Pereira sent the Brazilian crowd into a frenzy by staying close to the two American stars, finishing third in 1:57.11.

Phelps will be seeking his fourth straight 200 IM title at the Olympics. He's also got a chance to pull off that feat in the 100 butterfly.

Michael Phelps of USA

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