Olympic football round-up: Brazil survive Honduras scare to seal semi-final spot
Brazil sealed their place in the semi-finals of the Olympic football competition after a hard-fought 3-2 win over nine-man Honduras.
Mario Martinez gave Honduras a shock early lead before Leandro Damiao bundled the ball home from close range to make it 1-1.
Roger Espinoza put Honduras back in front but Neymar soon levelled the scores before Internacional striker Damiao grabbed the winner in a pulsating quarter-final tie at St James’ Park.
Brazil will now go on to play Team GB’s conquerors, South Korea, on Tuesday, while the other last-four clash will see Japan take on Mexico.
Many expected this star-studded Brazil side to overwhelm their Central American opponents from the off but Honduras, particularly Roger Espinoza and Mario Martinez, started brightly.
It was therefore appropriate that the pair played a key part in the opening goal of the match as Espinoza tricked his way to the by-line before cutting back to the on-rushing Maynor Figueroa. The ball bobbled off the Wigan left-back before falling neatly to Martinez, who expertly volleyed into the top corner.
Honduras suffered a setback soon after, though, as Wilmer Crisanto was sent off for two bookable offences in quick succession.
Brazil made their one-man advantage count as Hulk managed to get beyond Figueroa for the first time in the match and deliver a low cross which was tapped home by Damiao.
Despite their numerical advantage, Brazil could not hold on to their lead for long as Espinoza tricked his way through the seleção defence before curling in a well-placed shot from just outside the box.
Honduras’ lead was short-lived as Neymar levelled the scores from the spot after Jose Velasquez had tripped Damiao in the box.
Brazil then took the lead for the first time in the match through Damiao’s clever finish on the turn after neat build-up play from Marcelo and Neymar.
There was still time for Espinoza to taint his good night’s work when he collected a second yellow card for a cynical challenge on Chelsea new boy Oscar in the 90th minute.
In the other quarter-finals, Japan registered a 3-0 victory against Egypt at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu.
They will play a Mexico side that sealed their own place in the semi-finals with a 4-2 extra-time win over Senegal.
In an entertaining game at Wembley, Jorge Enriquez and Javier Aquino gave Mexico a 2-0 lead, but headers from the impressive Moussa Konate and Ibrahima Balde forced extra-time.
Defensive errors cost Senegal their place in the last-four though as Tottenham’s Giovani dos Santos and substitute Hector Herrera both capitalised on mix-ups at the back to send the Mexican fans into raptures.
Mexico will again be at Wembley for their clash with Japan on Tuesday as they look to seal a place in the final.
Laurence Taylor, Olympics correspondent